Happy St. Patrick's Day!
Want a drinking game for the holiday? Take a drink at every line break. If the authors note is still legible, you're made of sterner stuff than Gula. Or you didn't take near large enough drinks.
We own the rights to nothing within this story.
His body pressed to the ground as he all but slithered forward, the hunter avidly watching his oblivious prey partake of its final meal. A thrill seized his body as he slunk forward, but he restrained his enthusiasm, limiting it to a tongue darting between fangs to lick his lips. Several feet away, he came to a halt, his sleek form coiled as the end of his tail twitched, a furred metronome. Still entirely unaware of the doom lurking within its proximity, the prey continued its mindless tasks, distracted by the inane chatter that filled the environment.
The hunter was patient, years of practice curbing the wild nerves and energy that were the folly of all beginners and novices. Every particle of one's being had to be dedicated to the task at hand, ensuring each careful paw placement, each whispered breath, each subtle motion alerted none to his presence. All focus was turned, not upon the quarry lest it feel that ominous sensation of an encroaching predator, but within to erase one's presence. Regardless of the method, be it ambush or stalking, the core principle behind the seizure of prey was stealth and illusion. The unspoken deception of safety, of peace and serenity within a habitat that truthfully offered none.
After another moment of watching, of learning his target's little motions and nuances, of synchronizing with its breath, the hunter's muscles tensed before firing him forward. He arced gracefully through the air, a ghost to his prey until his shadow flickered before it, and by then it was too late. Claws sank into crimson hide, securing themselves as the target bolted, vainly attempting to flee its fate. The hunter permitted this delusion, taking a dark joy in its struggles and foolish hope before moving towards its neck. Claws sank into a firm shoulder as his other reached forward and . . .
Eddie yelped and slapped a hand over his stinging ear as the green crab, a small housecat seconds ago, dropped to the floor. The horned boy was in casual attire, the drab tan hoodie opened to reveal the plain, wide-collared shirt beneath it. Comfortable jeans of a deep blue coloration coated his long legs before ending at his ankles where his feet were free of sock and shoe alike. As he clutched at his ear, he leveled a gaze at a crab that was still trying to decide if it was irritated or flabbergasted. A chuckle emerged from it as it swelled into the form of Gar who offered an impish grin to the younger boy.
"Top o' the morning to ya, boyo!" he all but sang, using a faux Irish accent that desperately needed practice. He attempted a step dance, inspired by a scene he had witnessed of a televised Riverdance event, but wisely quit before he hurt himself. He stuck out his arms as though urging applause and beamed, "And happy St. Paddy's Day!"
"It isn't -" he stopped as he verified the date upon his phone and unleashed a long groan, dropping his head backwards.
Gar laughed and dropped the rough accent as he spoke, "For what it's worth, I don't think anybody else remembered either."
"Including you," he grinned, vengeance gleaming in his eyes as they checked Gar's attire. He wore a black shirt emblazoned with the star Chicken Thief and its sequels, and tan cargo shorts that his hands tucked into as he rocked back on his heels.
"I don't need to wear green. I am green."
"That doesn't count," he frowned but halted his advancement.
"Sure it does. Just ask Miss Martian. Or, find a rulebook on St. Patrick's Day traditions where it says green skin doesn't count. Until then, I have teammates to pinch in an effort that will not remotely reflect the severity of what I'm trying to do," he gave a lazy salute before dropping into the form of a cat that meowed and then the mighty hunter bounded away in search of new prey.
He lingered at a corner, ears swiveling to catch the sounds of movement before they were suddenly alerted by nearing footsteps. As they drew closer, an identifiable scent permeated his nostrils and he quickly changed into a spider, hiding at where the floor met the wall as his new victim passed, once again completely unaware of his presence. Mandibles pantomimed a smile that became more apparent as he shifted back into a caracal and prowled forth, diligently following his prey. As she neared a corner, he coiled and pounced.
And then blinked in surprise as he sailed over her shoulder, missing by a blatant foot and continuing on to the floor. He whirled upon the white-haired girl dressed in a flattering, navy blue shirt with a wide collar and slate grey sweatpants. She traipsed through the halls in off-white socks, steadfastly refusing the holiday's tradition. Lacking even a shamrock emblazoned upon her eyepatch, she straightened, and set a hand upon her hip as she arched the brow over her remaining eye at the cat that had slipped into a tense stance.
"Y'know, I seem to remember saying that you would never sneak up on me. You really want to try this?" Rose smirked confidently.
His gaze narrowed as he regarded her, well aware that the cocky stance was a ploy to disguise the taut muscles ready to leap into action. An action that was liable to leave his adorable kitten self pinned to a wall. The idea of chancing it circled through his mind likely longer than it should have before he simply relaxed his crouch and sat upon the floor. Lifting a foreleg, he ran a pink, sandpaper tongue along it as Rose's smile broadened at her perceived victory. She strutted past him, her guard apparently down, but he knew better than to fall for such pitiful acting. He did, however, glare at her retreating back and purred softly to himself.
"Soon, little Miss Wilson . . . soon . . ."
Duela hummed happily to herself as she offered Precious another candy from one of the few heart-shaped boxes that showed no sign of depleting any time soon before tossing it into her own mouth. She reclined upon her bed, door to her room open as she lifted Precious overhead and made whooshing sounds as she flew him through the air. Amongst his cluttered form, she had tethered a purple washcloth about his neck in a soft facsimile of a cape. Distracted by her still new companion, she failed to notice the thin shadow that slid past the entryway and into her cluttered room.
Ducking and weaving through emptied hearts and wrappers from the candies they had held, the traditionally black mamba slid next to the bed that was piled with more trash amongst the various plush animals and figures. Gathering himself beneath the discarded wrapping paper that once covered a box, he waited a moment to ensure that she did not move before melting into the body of a capuchin monkey. Remaining crouched as not to give away his position, he slid his arm along the bed's side, mirroring the serpentine motions he had been conducting minutes before. His tiny fingers hovered over pale skin before they pinched down and he chuckled at the shriek that fused with a giggle as she bolted upright, drawing back Precious as though ready him to defend her.
Darting out from under the trash, Gar swung onto one of her bed posts and beamed as he announced, "Happy St. Patrick's Day!"
"But my belt's green!" she protested.
She glanced down to her hips covered only by her purple garments and she blinked as Miss Horrific pushed forth a memory in which she chided Duela that her belt was becoming too tight and needed to be resized. With a small groan and a pout, she clutched Precious back against her chest. Her eyes were glittering unshed tears as she lifted them to Gar as she said, "But the candy is so yummy!"
"A little self-control isn't a-"
"Precious and I will just blow up all the evil candy factories that conspire to make me fatter!"
A mad gleam replaced the glitter of sorrow and a wide grin split across her face as she cackled darkly. Perched upon the bedpost, Gar frowned as she began whispering her insidious plot and wondered how much he could listen to before he could no longer claim plausible deniability. Coming to the conclusion that it was best to vacate the premises as soon as possible, he leapt from his post and did just that. Behind him, Duela's vicious mirth leaked from her room in the form of a jagged laugh and chased the monkey down the hall.
Rose sighed contentedly as she splayed out upon the beach chair, thankful for the quick retreat of winter and the warm days that assumed its place. She was rebelliously clad in a white two-piece, basking in the glow of the sun with her hands crossed behind her head and sunglasses blocking out the sharp rays and permitting her the chance to rest her eye. A consideration passed through her mind, suggesting that she go ask Eddie to join her while in nothing more than her current attire. Her cheeks warmed at the thought of how his tongue would knot itself together at the sight of her, but she ultimately decided that he had seemed agitated enough the last time she had seen him.
High above her, with thoughts of potentially psychotic proteges well out of mind, a peregrine falcon circled upon the thermals, riding the warm winds as he carefully kept his shadow from passing over the relaxed girl. Predator's eyes scanned her lax form, searching it for any possible defenses she could deploy, searching the sand she had disturbed in setting up her chair. After a moment of careful observation, the mossy raptor climbed skyward, brushing against the clouds before halting and locking upon his target once again. Dropping into a dive, the wind screamed past him as he streaked towards the unaware Rose, reaching awe-inspiring speeds. As he neared, he abandoned the form of the falcon for an owl, losing speed but now armed with silent feathers.
A sudden flash of light stabbed into his eyes and he instinctively squawked as he tried to tear his gaze away from it. Thrown off course, he blundered into the sand, sliding along it before coming to a stop with his face buried in a small hill of warm sand. Leaping out of it, he took several fluttering hops as he tried to expel the sand in his beak, thankful that his eyes had been closed. As he opened them, they were narrowed in a glare upon the younger girl who wagged the dagger, which had previously been hidden in the already disturbed sand, at him.
"It's two-zero, grass stain," she said. The taunt was obvious in both her tone and smirk. "How many more times do you want to lose today?"
He shook his portly form, sending sand spraying from his feathers, before settling back down and pointing out, "See, the thing is, I only have to get on the scoreboard to win."
"You say that like keeping you off of it is going to be a hard thing."
Feathered shoulders shrugged before they melted back into skin, quickly replaced by a verdant shell as its form stretched. Rose blinked, her superior expression faltering as her sun was blotted out by the beast that rose from the sand before her. Spines tipped the broad creature that squatted upon eight legs and dragged a single oversized claws through the sand, its smaller counterpart snapping together ominously. Its mouth and the bizarre components ringing it chattered in excitement as he asked, "Now, what were you saying?"
She flipped over the back of the chair, dodging away from the immense claw as it crashed down towards her, catching only her previous resting place. As he tossed it away, she stood and accused, "Okay, now that's just not fair!"
"I'm a giant enemy crab! Just attack the weak point for massive damage!"
"I'm presuming you're talking about your brain?" she snapped as she dodged the claw that shot towards her. Nimbly leaping atop it, she raced along the limb and leapt onto the broad back of the of the gigantic crustacean. Before she could catch her breath, Gar reared up and she swore violently as she threw herself forward, managing to secure a hold upon one of his spines.
"That's a dollar in the swear jar!" he sang as he tried to shake her off.
"You're starting to make Duela look sane!" she shouted, unaware that the girl in question had just waltzed from the base's front door, attired in a green version of her suit. Her hair had undergone a similar treatment, topped by a green tophat with a buckle, and she had covered her skin with stickers of glittering, four leaf clovers. Precious peered out from the primary pocket of the backpack slung over her shoulder and she lugged a cardboard box along with her. It was filled with various jars, bottles, and closed pipes affixed with worrisome wires and carefully separated by partitions of rags and towels. After a brief exchange with Danny, she reluctantly returned to the base's interior.
"Fine, you don't want to let go? We do this the fun way," Gar said before he scuttled to the water. He surged forth into the depths as Rose grit her teeth, realizing his insidious plot. Before he could fully submerge them, she released her hold and race to the edge, executing a graceful dive into the water and swimming back to shore. The water pushed at her legs and she saw the crab rapidly approaching, claws clicking menacingly and she released another oaf before charging the pathway leading to the base.
"Danny, get me to some other beach!" she demanded and she was gone before the claws could even reach for her. Gar sidled onto the pathway, refusing to surrender his form.
"After her, Danny!"
-Do you ever get the feeling that you're being slightly ridiculous?-
"Pretty much all the time. Thankfully. Now, after her!" he repeated.
-Yeah, I'm going to have to go with 'no' on this one.-
"What? C'monnnnn . . ."
-If you want to harass her, you'll get no help from me.-
Scuttling off the path, the crab dejectedly crouched upon the earth, seemingly pouting at the adamant entity. After a moment, one of his claws reached forward.
-Don't you dare. I've got my green.-
An arrow drew his eye stalks towards a flower poking up between two bricks and he stared at it for a moment before walking away, sinking back into the ocean to sulk.
Reinvigorated by the thrill of the hunt, Gar fixed his gaze rather firmly upon his next target, entirely focused on the task at hand. Every drop of his attention was dedicated to formulating an attack plan against the callipygian glory barely contained in a strained, dark skirt that shimmered in the dim light and ended before making it halfway down beauteous golden thighs. A violet tube top left the smooth expanse of her back largely bared, giving him the opportunity to marvel at steely muscles containing far more power than they should. A slender finger decorated with a dollop of whatever hazardous concoction she was brewing slipped between plump lips and she tasted her snack in a manner that had to be purposely seductive. She made a small noise in pleasure as her hand descended back to the counter and she continued to stir the foul-smelling creation. Even floating there, she swayed slightly, hypnotizing him with the . . .
A droll voice in the back of his head reminded him that he was here for a reason beyond ogling Blackfire's considerable assets and distaste for anything resembling modesty.
. . .
What was he doing here again?
He clenched his eyelids shut and dug for his reasoning before his overactive imagination could distract him with something else.
. . .
He frowned as he considered his plan, purposely averting his gaze, and soon a devious tactic bloomed within his mind, a scheme that would make any mastermind proud. Sliding from his hiding place under the fridge, the ball of fur only slightly more commonly known as a chinchilla grew into his humanoid form and he sauntered forth on silent feet, ensuring his weight was upon his heels to prevent his claws from scraping upon the floor. Coming to a halt directly behind her, he forced his breathing to remain calm as his gaze devoured her lush form. Leaning forward, he buried his head and inhaled while his hands headed towards a decidedly more southern destination to deliver their inches.
Her small jump at the sudden touch caused him to smile and he pressed closer to her as he whispered, "Happy St. Patrick's Day."
"Mmm," she purred as his hands began to drift up her sides. "Is this celebrated like that Day of Valentines?"
"Not exactly," he admitted as he moved to her neck, branding it with kisses and small bites that prompted throaty growls from her. "But I think they'd forgive us for starting some new traditions of our own, my supernova sweetie."
"That was, if I'm using the proper terminology, cheesy. Painfully so," she said as she turned to face him, temporarily obscuring his response as she hungrily pressed her mouth to his. His hands, which had been progressing upwards, immediately backtracked to clasp about her behind him and press her closer to him. When he was finally permitted the opportunity to breathe, he chuckled heartily.
"You know you love it."
"Hmm," she pursed her lips and narrowed her gaze. "Regardless, I can undoubtedly think of better uses for your mouth."
Eddie wandered down the hall, glancing furtively about when he heard something like a pop and lifted his eyes upward in time for the squid that had adhered itself to the ceiling to drop upon his head. His scream was muffled as the tendrils engulfed his head and as he tried to pull then off, he fell to the floor and began rolling about. After a moment , his yelp rang through the halls and a crab scuttled away from the scene, clicking its claws victoriously.
"Woop woop woop!" he cheered as he turned a corner, leaving the crimson boy sprawled upon the floor. After a moment, he raised his head and shouted after the green crustacean.
"Give me a break! All my green stuff is in the wash!"
It was late by the time Rose returned for the night, clad in the shorts and hoodie that she had crept back in earlier to obtain while Gar was distracted. The lights were off within the base, but she refused to relax as she progressed through the hallways until she finally made her way to the control room. A colored glow flickered within the room as a movie she didn't recognize played to an audience of one. Smiling at the horns that peered over the top of the couch, she finished her silent approach to the couch, posted her palm on its back, and flipped over to nestle against her boyfriend.
Eddie was surprised at the sudden intrusion but adapted with familiar alacrity, his arm slipping about her waist and pulling her closer to his heated body. She tried not to melt as he pressed a kiss to the back of her neck and whispered with a huskiness that likely wasn't intentional.
"Missed you. Where've you been?"
"Avoiding the obnoxious grass stain that we let lead us."
"You should've taken me with you," he groaned. "I swear, Gar's started hiding the green stuff. I've been trying to find something all day."
"That probably would have been a good idea," she mused softly, slowly being lulled to sleep by the comfort she found in his arms. "You could've taught some boys some manners."
He hesitated before he said, "I kind of feel like asking you to elaborate is a really bad idea . . ."
Chuckling at his trepidation, she began to wiggle on the couch, making some none to subtle presses against certain parts of his anatomy, until she had turned to face him. She eased his worried expression with a quick kiss, a thrill shooting through her as one of his fangs scraped against her lip. Cutting it off before she was lost in the experience, she explained, "Well, I was at a beach somewhere up north, and I figured, y'know, I'd try to get some of that green beer - celebrate a little."
"Of course you did," he sighed, prompting a grin from her.
"Well, anyway, I was trying to convince this guy that I was twenty-one and that I'd just forgotten my I.D. back at the dorm when some frat boy grabbed my ass."
A delicious shiver ran along her spine at the fire in his eyes and the rage that turned his voice guttural and more befitting of his form. It was almost as rewarding as watching the ferocious wrath seep away with her reassuring kisses before she continued, "He tried to make some sort of sleazy comment, but I think I missed it over the sound of his nose breaking."
"That's all you did?" he asked and she wasn't quite sure if his tone was incredulity at her restraint or disappointment.
"Course not," she scoffed. "The guy had some of his buddies with him. Fortunately, they'd all had enough beers by that point that attacking me seemed like a better idea than calling the cops."
"Oh, boy. I almost want to feel sorry for them."
"Yeah, well, somebody called the cops, I'm betting it was the damn bartender, and they showed before I could finish the bar fight, so I slipped out and managed to get picked up by Danny. Who, of course, scolded me. Y'know, I can safely say that I never expected to get scolded by a street."
"You didn't get hurt, did you?"
His concern managed to touch her and want to laugh at the idea of such a possibility but as his hands ran along her toned body, her minds turned to very different avenues of possibility. Letting her eyelids close slightly to mirror the dusky expression she had witnessed Blackfire use to flip Gar's switch countless times before, she tried to emulate her purr, "I don't think so. But, maybe, to be safe, you should check. Every. Last. Inch."
He gulped but a new blaze had been ignited in his eyes as they drifted down from her face to admire the form revealed by her open jacket. She took one of his hands and guided it to her side before leaning in to capture his lips. Fingers heated by his excitement banished any lingering chill brought on by the surprisingly brisk evening and she pressed against his body, ravenous for more of the warmth. Her tongue staged an expedition into his mouth, tracing along the pronounced canines before it was captured by his own. As she moaned into him, his hand continued its tactile inspection, drifting across her taut stomach.
Then they squeezed her skin in a slight pinch and she broke away to scowl at him as he gave a weak smile and chuckle, "Happy St. Patrick's Day?"
"I'm sorry! Gar said he'd leave me alone for the rest of this day and next year if I could pinch you!" he explained hurriedly, trying to cut off her anger before it could build.
Duela whistled a sea shanty as she skipped down the hallway, Precious in hand, when she was bowled over by a solidly built figure. She blinked, smiley faces swimming before her eyes as Eddie hurriedly apologized, "Sorry 'bout that. Gotta go."
"Eddie! Get back here!"
Duela blinked at the easily-recognized roar as Eddie scampered away, racing away from the scene of the crash. The hit-and-run victim decided that it was best to stay down as Rose rounded the corner and hurtled over her, the jacket ditched after it had slowed her down. She charged after her boyfriend and after they had both disappeared, Duela chanced sitting up, glancing after them before regarding Precious.
"I am starting to get really good at this."
WHY IS IT THAT THIS ONE HAS MORE ROMANCE IN IT THAN OUR VALENTINES STORY?!
Admittedly, it's a bit racier than typical romance, but still.
Now, excuse us as we go sing Another Irish Drinking Song . . .