Christmas day was the most relaxing one I had ever experienced. Usually I was forced to a huge extended family gathering where all my aunts, uncles, cousins and the like spent the time judging each other and playing a constant game of one upmanship. The funny thing was that as with my own family, they were basically upper middle class, but they all wanted to see themselves as so much more. It was hellish.
In sharp contrast, this christmas was spent with just myself and Caser. The eve before the main day, we never made it to the question of who sleeps where, because both of us fell asleep amidst my army of blankets after watching a series of movies we’d both seen already. Caser is hilarious sleeping, embodying the phrase, “catching flies”.
Christmas was spent playing games and attempting to use my kitchen, which if I am honest had not been used as much as it should have. We made bacon wrapped sausages, a small turkey was roasted and a yummy feta salad was tossed up. We ate far too much, and I felt my stomach rebel at having so much food stuffed in it. I was still forgetting to lower my portion sizes to compensate my small frame. Caser got a good laugh out of my groaning, stomach clutching antics, until I burst out crying. Don’t ask me why, one second I was fine and the next the teasing got to me. Caser was quick to pull me into a hug and within moments, I was sniffling and wiping away my tears with a smile.
Turns out there was a very different reason for my antics, which I discovered in the shower at about midday on boxing day. I stood in the shower, just revelling in the feeling of warm water on my body, which felt absolutely incredible today, when I realised something was off. That something was the red water pooled at my feet, lasily making its way down the drain. I realised pretty much instantly what the trickle of blood flowing from between my legs meant.
“Fuck!” I exclaimed.
I finished washing myself, and carefully dried everything except the areas that had blood on them. Then I made my way to the toilet, where I wiped myself down with toilet paper and water from the sink situated right next to it. My tail was stuck under the heater to dry while I thought. I needed help… which meant talking to Caser about it. Screw it, I wasn’t going to period shame myself! This is normal shit apparently! It happens to every fox girl.
“Caser!” I called through the door.
I heard a thump, followed by the door moving slightly and their voice calling through, “What’s up? Forget the toilet paper?”
“Um… no… I need you to go down to the store for me…” I said, my earlier conviction doing nothing to stop the heating of my cheeks.
“What for? Come on out and-” they started, but I interrupted them.
“I need pads! Or tampons! I don’t know! I don’t understand what I need!” I said, my voice growing slightly emotional during the last sentence.
“Oh, alright! On it! Be right back!” they called with an edge to their own voice.
It took them far less time than I thought it would, and I heard them hesitantly knock on the door.
“Can I come in?” They called.
“One second!” I called back, wrapping my towel around my middle and making sure it covered my angry modesty, “Okay you’re good!”
They opened the door and walked over, awkwardly handing me a half opened package they said, “Uh, it’s probably best you start out with just a pad, tampons can be super awkward for the first time, and like you’ve only had a vag for a… well a month so like let’s just start slow...”
I looked down at the open packaging, noticing the way some were missing, and threw the conclusions I drew from that down the toilet along with the bloody toilet paper. They showed me how to put the pad in my change of underwear and tips for getting it all sorted without getting blood everywhere. All in all it wasn’t as bad as I’d thought it would be, although I hadn’t really thought about it at all during the last month. Only during my years previous late night fantasies had I wondered what it was like to get my period.
Caser left me to get the rest of my clothing on once I had the underwear and pad on. I dressed myself in the casual sweatpants and hoodie combo I was coming to love around the house, and made my way out of the bathroom to finding them on the couch. They seemed to be a little hunched, their posture defensive and closed with hands clasped tight together in their lap. I shuffled over and sat down right next to them, putting my arms around their neck and leaning in to rest my head on their shoulder.
“Thanks,” I said quietly.
“No-” They started, their voice failing them with a croak, “No problem, it’s fine.”
“You’re a good friend,” I said, tilting my head to the side a bit to get a look at their face, “I’m pretty lucky you were here to help me.”
They gave a little shrug and a small smile appeared on their thin lips.
“So, what do you feel like doing now? Wanna see who’s online and do a double video call? I always wanted to meet one of you guys and have a call with the others while we were in the same room. There’s something like... fun about the idea of showing them, hey! We’re in the same place!” I suggested with excitement.
They looked up and frowned at me in confusion, “You don’t wanna talk about it?”
“Talk about what? There’s nothing to talk about, just a friend helping another friend,” I said, feigning confusion as to what they meant.
They opened their mouth, closed it, opened it again. Frowned harder, then sagged and relaxed, “Yeah, saying hi to everyone from your place sounds like fun, let’s go.”
We made our way together to my room where I had my computer set up, but they stopped me and pulled me into a surprise hug.
“Thanks,” they whispered into my fluffy ear.
I giggled and complained, “Hey that tickles!”
“You’re not getting away just yet,” they chuckled softly, “I don’t mind having it you know, the… vag. It’s just the stupid period. I fucking hate it so much.”
I wriggled in their lanky embrace and flicked their face with my ear. My ears were definitely growing on me, I had a defence against tall people who hugged me.
“Caser! Gosh, It’s fine really! You’re you! Doesn’t matter what you’re packing or what happens every month or so! I’m like the ultimate proof of that!” I reassured them.
“Yeah, you’re right, I know you’re right and periods but… dysphoria is a bitch. I’m always really worried that once people know what I was assigned at birth they will start throwing the wrong pronouns at me,” they sighed.
“Yeah, I get you, but I will never do that to you! I would be a massive hypocrite if I did!” I reassured them, wrapping my tail around their waist, “...Uh so do you still want to go and call the others?”
They looked at my tail in surprise, freeing one arm to pet it with a growing smile, “Your tail is just so great…”
“Caser! Talking to friends! Yes or no! You can play with my tail while we do it!” I said in exasperation.
“While we do it?” they said with a cheeky tone to their voice, “On camera?”
I sputtered and squeaked, “What? No! Ahh! Not you too!”
The day after boxing day arrived and it was time for Caser to leave. Before they left, they wanted to go to an expo that was being put on by a few of the tech giants based in Penrith. They were trying to pass it off as some sort of holiday event, but the real objective was painfully obvious. They were trying to secure government and private funding to fuel their research into the new and strange tech that had appeared after the storms.
Since I was a product of those same storms, I was sort of interested in what had suddenly forced itself into our reality. There were a few photos of the artifacts to be displayed, odd books that pulsed light, stones that floated an inch off the ground, strange implements that had no discernable purpose, and more. The photos alone were fascinating, but the apparently the tech companies had already altered some of the strange objects for uses that we did understand.
“So we should go to this expo thing before you have to leave this afternoon?” I asked Caser as I leaned on them to get a view of their laptop.
“Yeah it sounds really cool! You studied engineering right? You should be really interested in this thing,” they said, their hand idly stroking my tail that I had placed in their lap.
“Yeah I’m keen! I just didn’t know if you would be,” I said looking up at them.
“I’m a huge geek, you know this! I might not understand the weird numbers stuff about these things, but it’s all still cool as hell!” they grinned.
“Sweet, it’s a plan then!” I grinned back.
We made our preparations to look presentable, and packed Caser’s things into their car again. It was about noon when we got ourselves into their car and driving off towards the expo. The drive over was fairly uneventful, if a bit chilly, much as they had said of their drive to Penrith in the first place.
When we arrived, the carpark to the Yelmorn Industries showroom was packed, and we had to find a park a few blocks away. Still, despite trudging through the cold for a few blocks we made it to the show without much difficulty. Once we had our cheap tickets in hand we were allowed into the building, where we were greeted with a wealth of all things odd.
In one stand, behind some very thick “glass”, was a pair of glowing glass orbs that reminded me of marbles. The two were having a great old time smashing violently into each other over and over, producing sparks and flashes of light that was almost mesmerising to look at.
“Damn, that’s crazy!” Caser said into a conveniently placed fox ear, “You think those could be used for like, power or something?”
“Don’t know, but I’m pretty sure those are being used to generate power!” I said, excitedly pointing at a trio of stone looking cubes that had wires attached to them. The wires led to a man in a powered suit of armour that reminded me of the first ironman suit.
“Oh shit that is cool! How much do you think that will retail for?” Caser said with a giggle.
“More than you can afford silly,” I said, giggling along with them.
We spent the next few hours meandering around the showroom floor looking at all the cool shit on display. There was some item I wanted with all my heart. The pair of exo-suit legs were so damn cool. A lady had them on and was leaping and prancing about like she was walking on the moon, not in 1G. The Yelmorn rep explained that previously, the legs had not worked due to the current power generation tech not providing enough power. This had changed after the storms.
They had fitted it with two smaller versions of the cubes we had seen earlier. The were located one in each hip, and gave more than enough energy for the insane acrobatics the lady was achieving. I wanted them.
Despite my lust for the leg thingies, I was pulled away to another display of mystical strangeness by my enthusiastic friend.
When we finally decided to call it quits, it was nearing sundown and I was feeling more and more upset as we trudged back towards the car. These few days had been the most wonderful balm on my injured soul. I didn’t want them to end. I think Caser was feeling it too, because they stayed silent for most of the walk to the car and the drive back to my apartment. When we pulled to a stop outside the building I lived in, we sat in silence and stared at it.
Without much warning, I burst into tears and flung myself at my friend. The tears flowing as freely as my emotions, my awful wounded mind begging for this happiness to continue. The center console of the car got in the way of my need for a hug, and I clambered over it to sit in their lap.
“I don’t-” I started, before my breathing hiccuped and I lost the words.
“I know,” they said gently, a rasp infecting their own words, “I’ll come back soon okay? You can always talk to me online too.”
I didn’t really reply, and just curled into their arms some more instead. We stayed like that for a long while, Caser making shushing sounds as I cried. Having someone who cared in my life again was so… I don’t know. Words fail me. I do know that having them leave was like losing Kelly again, despite the rational part of my mind telling me that Caser was not dead and I could talk to them at any time.
It was perhaps an hour later that I finally got a grip on myself, climbing out of the car and saying my goodbyes to them in weary resignation. They promised to come and visit again as soon as they were able to, and then drove off with a final goodbye embrace.
I checked my gear one last time before I left the house. I had purple sneakers, navy jeans and a black tank top on. My forearms held the bracers strapped to them, ready to dart forward and knock someone out. My neck held the necklace that would protect my identity by removing people’s ability to make a connection between the fox girl Kalia and the fox girl Vulptrix. To top it all off I wore my large green hoodie, the one I had been wearing when this all started.
Tonight, I hoped to add a new item to my ensemble. The leg exo armour. With that armour and its high mobility, I would be able to fill the gap that my unwieldy and unpredictable teleporting left. I had no plan to get into the building, which would be heavily guarded at night, and probably by Emerged too. The reason for this theft, the real reason I didn’t fully want to admit to myself, was that I felt sad and lonely after Caser’s departure, and I was turning to the adrenaline rush that breaking and entering would bring.
With my gear safe and a duffel bag secured, I rushed out the door in my customary cloud of shadow. Through the streets I made my way, avoiding those few who still out in the frozen night air, off on some errand too important to be left until daylight. I was not really dressed for this weather, but running helped me keep warm. Nevertheless I still lamented my choice of villain attire. I’ll work on it, maybe some thermals underneath it?
The showroom was attached to the huge Yelmorn industries office building, like a giant’s foot next to its leg. The architecture style they had used was so stereotypically “modern company working to the future” that my mind at first barely registered the carefully concealed sniper’s nests. They were hard to spot, added on to the architecture like it was some sort of concrete and glass gargoyle.
Other than the sniper’s nests, several run of the mill mercs with assault rifles wandered the perimeter, and I saw one dude who had floating orbs of energy casually spinning around his hand. I could see through the glass doors that there were more armed thugs within. This was going to either get me killed or be very very fun. I just needed a plan.
On light feet I snuck forward, hiding behind a parked car on the other side of the road. What could I do? I was thinking the roof would be easiest, but I had no ideas as to how I could get up there. Maybe I could… yes.
I turned and looked at the building behind me, another generic office tower much like the Yelmorn one, if a little smaller. The colour yellow blooming bring in my mind, I shifted myself into the building and tiptoed through the ground floor until I found the stairs. I estimated the height of the Yelmorn showroom to be about three storeys tall, so I climbed up to level four and teleported through the locked door.
My teleporting through walls ability kind of felt like cheating to be honest, maybe I should learn things the hard way at some point. In case I ever find an accomplice who can’t do the same. When I got to the windows on this floor, I saw that I had been right, I was right in line with the rooftop of the showroom. The rooftop still held many guards, and I was suddenly less sure of my plan.
With a shrug I didn’t entirely feel, I aimed myself at the building and activated my teleport with all my concentration. I was really banking on the fact that my teleporting had not landed me anywhere dangerous so far, and would not leave me hanging four floors up in midair. When I felt my feet touch the rough concrete roof of the showroom, I breathed a sigh of relief. Now to figure out the next step.
I didn’t really get time to do so, because at that moment a guard turned his gaze over me, and I had to act fast.
Ted, I’m assuming his name was Ted, was probably bored that night, standing there in the cold, a bit miffed about guarding some stupid convention center thing full of weird shit. He thought fondly of his time in the army… wait no he’d be a marine. He thought fondly of his time in the marines, before his hip had started giving him trouble and he’d had to be discharged from the service.
When Ted heard the scuff of my sneakers hitting the rooftop, he idly turned to look over at the noise. Maybe his relief was here finally? What he saw was an amorphous shadow about chest height rushing towards him, followed by cold metal being shoved at his chest.
When the bar of metal attached to my forearm touched him, he seized up, convulsed and then collapsed in a heap on the ground. He made an awful lot of noise as he did so, and I realised I needed to high tail it to the rooftop access.
I heard several guards calling out to Ted as I bounded lightly across the rooftop, avoiding the huge glass skylights and ducking low to avoid attention. One of Ted’s friends was moving cautiously over to his unconscious body and I used their badly placed focus to slip up to the door and teleport inside… Right into the path of a surprised merc.
He was in the process of moving forward to swipe his access car over the beeper thing when his eyes widened in surprise at the odd blob of shadow that had materialised before him. He reacted faster than me, but not by much. My Tuning Fork of Sleepy Guards touched his hand just as the pistol was leveled at my chest. I ducked forward as fast as I could to grab his gun before his convulsions caused his gun to go off. Thankfully i was fast enough, pulling the weapon from his grip as he slumped to the floor.
I stood there breathing hard as the shock of my surprise encounter wore off. That had been damn close! I needed to plan better if I didn’t want to die some horrible death. What could I do to increase my chances from now on? It was especially important I had a plan once I got to the main floor.
I stared at the notification on my phone that alerted me to yet another break in occuring in town. The first week or two of hero work it had been difficult to pin down where a crime was happening. That had changed when Codeye had turned up in the hero scene with his weird app. The app, installed by using a code in any mobile store, was a godsend. The rest of us had no idea how it really worked, but it somehow knew when a problem had been spotted by someone in town. My personal opinion was that it tapped into local security and law enforcement channels via some Emerged hocus pocus bullshit.
I looked up at my computer screen, my character, Saryn, playing through idle animations as she waited patiently for me to decide what to do. My friends and I were trying to see how high we could run this defence mission and I was in charge of killing everything. I sighed, I didn’t really have a choice after all.
“Sorry guys, I gotta go, something's come up,” I told them regretfully.
I heard their muffled protests as I took my headset off, and moved to the closet to get my ramshackle super suit out. I call it a super suit, when really it's the body piece for my Mass Effect N7 armour cosplay, sans armour plates. The armour plates had broken when some dumbass in a Deadpool costume had fucked with me at the last con I went to. I winced at the damage to the cosplay I had intentionally rendered as well. The back had been cut away from the small of my back upwards to allow for my wings. Sure, wings were fucking badass and fun to boot, but damn were they hell on the wardrobe. My back was going to be perpetually cold.
Climbing into my suit, I saw myself in the mirror and felt a small lurch in my chest. Damn. I didn’t have time to put my makeup on. Before I had emerged, I’d been reasonably pretty sure, but the changes that had happened to me went beyond my wings and powers. It had made my face that of an angel as well as my wings. People just wouldn’t stop staring at me whenever I forgot to but some makeup on that would detract from my looks. I couldn’t handle it.
Raising a mental effort to quell the anxiety that going out without makeup brought on me, I squared my shoulders and put on my hero face. Time to go stop some idiot from trashing a business.
I flew fast from my home in Rotherham towards the inner city where the alert originated from. I wasn’t able to reach the same speeds as those overpowered heroes in comic books, but my speed was respectable. Flying between the buildings of downtown Penrith was always a treat. The air was chaotic and intense, and it threw me side to side and dropped me up and down. It felt like some sort of theme park ride.
Nearing the building, I saw Bastion riding hell for leather towards the Yelmorn showroom, and dove to match him.
“Yo, going to the same party?” I yelled with a wink and a laugh.
“Yes, I’m going to the break in at Yelmorn Industries. We need to get there and stop whatever villain is trying to make away with that tech. Some of that stuff in the wrong hands could be disastrous for Penrith!” he yelled at me over the din his bike made.
“Uh, yes, definitely. Fate of Penrith at stake. Let’s go be heroes and stuff!” I called back, with what I thought was barely constrained sarcasm, but which he responded with a solemn nod.
God, the guy played this whole hero business out like he was some marty sue character in a book. It made me want to vom a little when he really got into it.
When we arrived at the showroom, it was a hive of past-their-prime mercs with bad trigger discipline and a whole lot of excitement. They probably thought this was their moment or something. Bastion pulled up on the sidewalk and I settled quietly next to him.
“You!” Bastion called harshly, pointing to one of the mercs, “What’s the situation?”
“Oh! Bastion! Uh, there’s some sort of shadow thing in there! It knocked out our guys inside and we think it might be eating them!” he said with wide eyes.
“Oh no, that doesn’t sound good! Shit, it was awful what the last one of this type did, I don’t want to see any more innocents hurt like that. Nightbinder, we need to go in there quick before it devours them like Ulmbrah did!” Bastion said with grim resolve.
“You got it Bastion,” I sighed.
He nodded and proceeded through the mercs like the hero of some ancient legend, making it to a door where two grim faced mercs opened it for them. I followed behind him with resignation. Bastion always sucked a portion of the fun out of being a hero.
The interior of the building was quiet, the atrium beyond the main doors was eerily silent, and I felt a sense of foreboding creep up my spine. Several doors into the main showroom floor were slightly ajar and the main one was propped open by the body of one of the mercs. When bastion saw the fallen man, he rushed over and with a look around to make sure things were clear, checked the merc’s pulse.
“Still alive,” he whispered with a note of relief, “This one hasn’t been devoured yet.”
“Yup,” I replied.
Bastion moved up to the doorway itself and peered through, then did some sort of weird hand signal thing I was probably meant to understand. I shrugged and brushed past him. Any shadow creature of doom worth its salt would have heard the boy scout roll up on his giant motorbike anyway.
The showroom floor was dimly lit and scattered with mercenary bodies. It was impressive the number of people this villain had taken out if I was totally honest. A few bullet holes littered the walls like freckles on a blushing freshman after I’d given her a wink.
I turned back and saw Bastion following me onto the floor with a frown, his head swivelling like a hawk high on cocaine.
We both jumped like frightened children when we heard a loud crash from further into the showroom, and I stiffened up. Maybe boy scout was right, it was time to get serious. I couldn’t use my flight until we engaged the villain because it was quite loud, so I looked to Bastion to see what he would do. He motioned forward, and then pointed to me, indicating that I take a route through the displays near him. I gave him a not and we proceeded forward.
A few seconds later there was another crash, followed by a sort of grinding screeching sound that reminded me of a wizard in Destiny. That terrifying scream that was almost too high for human hearing. Just what the hell were we facing in here? I looked over and saw my look of trepidation mirrored on Bastions face.
It was almost a full thirty seconds of creeping forward when we finally saw our adversary at the same time she called out, “Fucking finally! You’d think they would at least make this shit more intuitive! Honestly! And they call themselves engineers… wait nevermind that makes perfect sense.”
I couldn’t help myself. I gave a snort of laughter. Fucking ridiculous little fox girl villain Vulptrix stood before us wearing some sort of crazy mechanical leg brace things in a pose of exasperated victory. When she heard my snort of laughter, she whirled and a huge grin spread across her face at the sight of myself and Bastion, who had also failed to conceal himself.
“Hi guys! I was trying to work these dumb things out. I hoped to get out of here before you guys arrived, but turns out they have two on switches for each leg? Like why?” she babbled.
Despite myself I felt an answering grin spread across my lips. Damn she was cute. Her big ears moving in tandem with the expressions on her face and her cheeky little golden eyes dancing with mischief.
“What are you doing here Vulptrix! Why do you steal? Are you not ashamed of your actions even a little bit?” asked Bastion with anger in his voice.
To my surprise, the fox girl narrowed her eyes in undisguised hatred, “Me ashamed? What about you? What about all the people you’ve killed during your heroic efforts huh? No, I’m going to enjoy the shit out of embarrassing you in front of all those fucking fanboys outside.”
Fucking hell, where had that come from?
“Anyway,” she said with a visible effort to control herself, before continuing with another grin,“Let’s not allow your shortcomings to spoil the fun”
With those words, she pulled her phone out and hit a button on the screen. Instantly the lights went out and I heard a rising thumping bassline well out of the speakers. What on earth? Suddenly I heard lyrics and guitar start up, and the song turned into some sort of upbeat rock track. Then the show lights started to pulse with coloured light, and the room turned into a rave.
I was so distracted by the odd antics of the room that I didn’t notice Vulptrix flying at me with a fist outstretched. In a panic I lurched to the side and barely managed to dodge her fist, only for her blow to turn into a pirouette. She halted the spin with her back to me, turned her head to look at me over her shoulder and gave a sultry wink. I stared in amazement at her strange, heart rate increasing display, and jerked when she burst into streamers of bright colour.
What on earth? Did she? What? I looked over to see how Bastion was faring and found him under assault by three clones of Vulptrix, each one lunging forward and spinning to try and get an opening through his shields, only to be repulsed by his skill with his powers. At least, that’s what I thought until I saw a shadow creep up on him and lunch forward, her arm mounted metal weapon contacting his back with a light pop that was only barely audible over the upbeat music.
Bastion jolted forward as if stung and only barely managed to stay on his feet, his body visibly shaking as he fought off the effects of whatever the trickster was using for weapons. It looked like it hurt and I resolved not to be struck by her weapons. Looks like the little fox had teeth.
She stopped her attacks on Bastion at the same time as tens more Vulptrix clones appeared from behind objects and I quickly found myself whirling to defend against their attacks. What kind of power was this? I thought. The clones were teasing in their attacks against me, lashing out only to jerk back at the last second when i moved to block the attack. It was maddening.
The song reached it’s chorus, and suddenly her tactics changed again, although I couldn’t make out what the objective was. Instead of attacking us… the clones were… dancing? They twirled and shimmied in displays of inhuman agility and grace, until the song ended, when the lights turned back on. There must have been close to fifty trickster fox women all standing around in various poses. Then, all at once, they vanished in puffs of smoke as though making a ninja exit and Bastion and I found ourselves standing alone among the displays.
Wheezing and wide eyed from the “fight”, Bastion said, “Where is she? Do you see her? Fuck that hurt, little bitch!”
“I think she’s gone dude, you can calm down now. That whole dance routine was probably a distraction while she made a getaway,” I explained, with a little giggle.
“Oh, so my dancing was distracting was it?” a sultry voice said from directly behind me.
I spun in alarm, by hand summoning my mace in reflex. Walking away from me with more than a little sass, was Vulptrix, her hips swaying in an exaggerated manner and tongue poking out in a manner that I found infinitely endearing, despite her villainous character.
“Damn it! You god damn cheeky fucking minx!” I called out, beginning my pursuit of the girl.
She calmly winked at me over her shoulder, her tongue still caught between her teeth in that maddening way, and then disappeared in a flash of little sparks.
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Bio: You may also know me as Rosilys Inknose. I no longer post on this website, if you wish to find the continuation of my stories, or just the ones I haven't posted here, you can find me under Quietvalerie on scribblehub and Rosilys Inknose on tgstorytime.