What Part of 'No' Don't You Understand?
Chapter Four: Sudden Action Will Yield Satisfaction
A/N Diana-Kisa has written a sequel to Clearly Harassment called A Different Bedtime Story, which involves Professor Utonium addressing Bubbles' confusion in the aftermath of Him's visit. It's great fun and worth a read and the link for it is posted on my profile.
The howl of pain that echoed through the halls of DexLabs Headquarters became the stuff of legend. Him's unholy shriek as his foot was crushed beneath Kilroy Green's heel shook the building. Panes of glass shattered, alarms activated, leaves were knocked off the trees as far away as the employee parking lot, and Mandark, busily plotting Dexter's downfall from across the avenue at Mandark Industries, called in a noise complaint. (That was nothing new – Mandark complained so often about Dexter and DexLabs that the Downtown police had cited him for being a nuisance).
As for the witnesses, Utonium went back to gaping as Him briefly hopped around holding his smashed foot in his claws. Dexter groaned in renewed anger at the sight of safety glass from the shattered windows strewn across the floor and the sound of alarms elsewhere in the building. Bubbles rushed forward to hug Mr. Green and assure herself that he was unharmed. Blossom planted her hands on her hips and snapped, "Serves you right!" as Him hopped around, endlessly whining, "Ow! Ow! Ow!" Buttercup, direct as ever, put up with Him's antics for all of a minute then said, "Zip it!" a moment before she tripped Him. The Ultimate Evil sprawled on the floor in a messy heap of black patent leather and pink tulle.
Satisfied with himself and the results of his foot-stomping (his horoscope had been more right than he'd ever imagined) Mr. Green leaned over Him. With the Powerpuff Girls ranged behind him, the green-skinned demon smiled faintly.
"I did warn you."
Him was about to snap an answer when that smile arrested him. This was the first time Kilroy had smiled at him. What the evil demon had felt before paled in comparison to the emotion gripping him at the sight of Kilroy Green looking upon him with gentle amusement and concern. If he had seemed gorgeous before then now he was adorable beyond words, and Him knew that he was falling stupid in love. He was about to speak when up stormed the Red Menace, dragging the Professor along with him and spoiling the moment.
"YOU!" he shouted, his Russian accent coming on thick and strong. He struggled out of Utonium's hold and pointed imperiously at Him. Dexter was so short that Him, sitting up to nurse his throbbing foot, was able to look the boy in the eye. "You will cease this pathetic harassment of my teacher and remove yourself from my corporate headquarters immediately!"
Not about to be pushed around by this undersized, raving brat, Him gave him the evil eye. "And if I don't?"
Dexter blinked, his eyebrows rising at the notion of anyone (or thing) trying to outdo him in the arrogance department.
"That," he said with authority, drawing himself up to his full and rather unimpressive height, "is a very stooopid question."
The hint hit home immediately, because as Dexter spoke the Powerpuff Girls rose into the air around the boy they called their brother, their hands and eyes glowing threateningly with building energy. Behind them, Professor Utonium folded his arms and glared. Kilroy's smile widened.
"Anything else you'd like to know?" demanded Dexter coldly.
"Just one thing." Him looked beyond Dexter to Kilroy. "Busy Friday night?"
"OUT!" Dexter commanded, pointing at the nearest exit.
"Sorry," Kilroy said, feeling something akin to kindness and pity for Him and his fruitless efforts. "I have to polish my cat."
He gave the quiet and dignified demon a long, sideways look. Green hadn't actually said no, and whether he realized it or not, that lingering trace of a smile on his lips was an open invitation. There was hope for Him yet.
"Are you going to leave or do I have to ask my sisters to toss you out the window?" demanded the Red Menace.
"Killjoy," sneered Him. He rose to his feet. His foot ached horribly, but in truth he didn't mind all that much since Kilroy had smiled upon him. Glaring right back at the children, he turned to go. Then he paused. There was no way he could just leave in defeat and give these brats a total victory. It just wasn't his style. And there was no way he could go without giving Kilroy-
Before anyone, even Buttercup, could react, Him reached out with both claws over Dexter's head and seized Mr. Green's upper arms. Yanking the astonished demon in close and tight, Him kissed Kilroy full on the lips. The Utoniums gasped. Smashed between his teacher and a super fiend in holiday drag, Dexter let out a scream of revulsion and struggled futilely to free himself.
Green was too shocked to do anything other than stand there and take it for the better part of a minute. When finally Him broke the kiss, he could only stare at the red demon in speechless, breathless surprise. Him smiled roguishly and licked his lips, enjoying every last moment of this encounter.
"See you around, Mr. Green," promised Him.
A squeaky noise escaped Kilroy's throat. He had yet to move, blink, or shut his gaping mouth. Dexter wriggled clear and proceeded to have a breakdown. Him blew Green a good-bye kiss and vanished in a puff of pink smoke.
Except for Dexter quietly freaking out, there was silence. Finally Bubbles piped up,
"I always thought Him was a boy."
She was clearly confused. There was the sound of a slap as Utonium clapped a hand to his aching head.
"He is, Bubbles," snapped Buttercup impatiently. "Hello! Him?"
"Then why did he kiss Mr. Green?"
Another slapping sound echoed down the hall as Buttercup imitated her father. Blossom sighed, shaking her head. By now Dexter had stripped off his white lab coat and cast it on the floor, followed quickly by his gloves.
"I need to be decontaminated," he whined.
Mr. Green finally shook himself, a shudder running through his whole lean frame as his mind caught up with what had just happened. His lips still tingled, and it occurred to Kilroy that he had not been kissed - really kissed - in a very, very long time. Despite that, he did not resist the impulse to swipe at his mouth with the back of his gloved hand.
"I need to brush my teeth."
Patrick Utonium sighed. He looked at his daughters, who were everything from confused to disgusted to fed up, to his son, who looked about to have a catastrophic melt down, to his son's tutor, who looked shell-shocked.
"I need a drink," the Professor announced with absolute finality. He looked at Mr. Green and said in a voice that allowed for no arguments, "And so do you."
Epilogue: Double or Nothing
The bar was dark, seedy, and smelled of cheap alcohol and smoke – a perfect spot for the caliber of demon he was meeting up with tonight. Him moved slowly through the crush of creatures hunched low over their tables and ignored the hush that fell as the Ultimate Evil passed. His limp caused a bit of a stir as he slid into the empty bench seat in the booth furthest from the entrance.
Opposite him sat a black, brooding figure with a startling shock of blue flames where his hair should have been. His eyes and mouth glowed with the same blue glow as the flames atop his head. Fire demons came in all sorts of shapes and sizes, ranging from the shadow-cloaked, evil Demongo before him to the cool and elegant Kilroy Green left behind at DexLabs earlier today.
A smirk split the demon's dark face as he noticed Him was limping. Him leaned back and let Demongo have his fun as the tentacled orange waitress brought him some whiskey in a chipped and dirty glass.
"I take it that limp you're sporting isn't the kind you'd like to brag about," said Demongo. His voice was surprisingly high-pitched, and the glow from his features seemed to lengthen the shadows when he spoke.
"Perceptive as ever. Collect many souls lately?"
Demongo drank a mouthful of whiskey, causing the flames on his head to flare up briefly. "Ones worth having are getting harder and harder to come by."
"Poor you," mocked Him.
The fire demon shrugged, and then looked over the brim of his glass to sneer, "I like a challenge." He gave Him a nasty look. "So. Is the fact that you're here proof positive that I won our bet?"
He drew a deep breath, hating that he was forced to admit, "For the moment. I like a challenge, too."
Demongo chuckled. "But does the challenge like you?"
He rolled his eyes, tasting the harsh whiskey. It burned his throat. "That remains to be seen."
"Let me guess . . ." The mockery in Demongo's voice was as thick and annoying to Him's ears as listening to Dexter rant. "You tried your usual, crude, head-on approach . . . and got stomped on."
It was impossible to deny as much, seeing as how his foot was throbbing and he dared not remove his boot yet. "It was worth a shot."
He snorted and slammed back the rest of his drink, casting the booth into flickering, bluish daylight for a moment. "Anyone with such good taste in capes won't respond to those tactics."
It was Him's turn to mock. "Matching capes is not a good basis for a relationship."
"Oh? Have you tried it?" He set his chipped glass at the edge of the table.
Him glowered, his dark eyes narrowing sharply. "Don't even think about it, Demongo."
The black demon motioned for more drinks. "Why not? You lost. You said you could land Mr. Goody-Two-Shoes inside of an afternoon. So why are you sitting here with me and not wining and dining your dream come true?"
"Because he was busy," Him growled. There was no way he would admit to being turned down at every turn. "But I saw him first."
"You lost him first, you mean."
A chill ran down Him's spine. These were dangerous waters. "Just round one. He's playing hard to get."
"Really?" asked Demongo, completely unimpressed by the red demon's boastings. "Are you sure he's playing?"
"Are you suggesting I'm being played?"
"Player or played, you still lost the bet." Demongo smirked as more whiskey arrived. "Maybe I should step in and show you how it's done."
He had a hideous vision of Kilroy content in Demongo's embrace. The very idea sickened him and he forced himself not to shudder. "I don't need your help," Him said.
"I think you do."
The Collector of Souls chuckled. "Then get steel-toed boots."
Him glared. Had it been anyone less than a minion of Aku on the receiving end of that daggered look they would have been dead a thousand times over and grateful to be released from their sufferings.
Demongo drew a deep breath, not that his particular kind needed to breathe. It was more for effect. "How does this strike you? Double or nothing. You have a month. By the end of that time, you two are an item or you stand back and watch me collect his soul. Deal?"
"Kilroy's soul was never on the line."
"Ohhhhh," purred Demongo, oozing contempt. "You really do care. So weak. You're slipping. Too much time among these filthy humans, Him. You're picking up their nasty little traits." He leaned close. "One month, or else you get to watch me make Kilroy fall and love and hand over his soul to me himself. See, there's a soul worth having. Take it or leave it." He sat back, well satisfied and confident that that he could uphold his end of the bargain. "Didn't you just say you liked a challenge?"
He had no choice and this slime knew it. "And when I win?"
"You're free to go," promised Demongo magnanimously. He caught himself and added, "Oh, and I guess that horny green bean you're hot after can keep his soul if he still wants it. But until then . . ." His voice suddenly deepened as he formed a binding spell. "You will not speak of this."
Not even Him, the Ultimate Evil, could escape such a spell. It was final. He would not be able to speak of their bet to anyone but Demongo until he won Kilroy's affections or stood helplessly by and watched as Demongo claimed the gentle, green-skinned demon and his soul.
"I have a month," confirmed Him.
"Mmm-hmm. After that, I step in, you get to watch, and then I collect what's owed me . . . and what I want."
"Plenty of time," Him said with bravado he really didn't feel. Unable to hate the other demon more, he winked and smirked across the table. "Game on, Demongo."