X-Men Series, Part 4: Shadowcat
Kitty Pryde plodded down the upstairs hallway on bare feet that made a splotching sound against the finely varnished floor. She was wandering, still trying to get used to this place again. Musty memories lingered around every corner, belying an unmistakable feeling of home. Yet she also felt like a stranger in a strange land, particularly as a couple of young kids – couldn’t have been more than 14 – whizzed past her. One of them had a horn like a unicorn.
It made Kitty remember her first encounter with Kurt, how his demonic appearance had terrified her before she came to know his gentle nature. She felt bad about that for years, even if it was a natural reaction for a 13 year old girl from a lily-white suburb. Today’s generation of X-gene carriers had a much greater proliferation of mutated appearances as well as powers, it seemed. When had that happened? It made her feel old at the ripe age of 21. She wondered, not for the first time, if the X-Men really had passed her by. She wondered, not for the first time, if she really belonged back here.
While she was doing all this wondering she must have completely spaced out, because all of the sudden she fell. Not fell over – fell straight down, as if stepping over an open manhole. Her tangibility failed her for just a second, and she barely had time to be shocked about that before realizing something even freakier – she hadn’t fallen completely through. She was stuck in the floor!
This was a) impossible and b) very uncomfortable. She was completely tangible again, except that everything below her armpits was dangling from the ceiling of the mansion’s first floor. Her head and arms, meanwhile, were sticking out of the floor, with about four inches of her upper torso contained in the hollow floorboards. Really, this should have killed her. Not like anything important was occupying the same space as those floorboards – not like her lungs or anything.
Yet she felt no pain, nor any trouble breathing. What the hell was going on? Secondary mutation, like Bobby’s turning irrevocably to ice?
In any case, it wasn’t the most pleasant position to be in, the cool breeze of a ceiling fan caressing her bare tummy as her shirt rode up and her jeans slid down. But when she tried to phase out of it, she could not. Every ounce of concentration couldn’t seem to make her go intangible.
“What the hell?” she muttered aloud.
She kicked her legs in mid-air, trying to drop through. She pushed against the floor with the little leverage she had, trying to climb out. Both were futile. She was truly trapped.
“Hey, little help here!” she shouted. “Scott? Logan? Anyone but Emma?”
This as humiliating. She hoped none of the students saw her like this – not a great way to win their respect as a role model, randomly losing control of her powers in the most embarrassing way possible.
“Nope,” she said aloud to herself. “This really couldn’t get any worse.”
A weak snicker caught her by surprise.
“Unless someone start tihihihihahahaha-iiiickling me!!”
Kitty couldn’t believe it. She could feel ten fingers grabbing her around the waist, digging into her hips, really going to town. She burst out laughing and kicking air, hoping to deliver a swift blow to the asshole who apparently thought it was Torture the Trapped Intangible Girl day. It had to be one of the flying students, some prepubescent punk copping a quick anonymous feel. She suspected as much as she hands wandered up under her shirt, diddling over her ribs.
Kitty shrieked and squealed. She was horribly ticklish, but her gift meant she never had to endure it very long. It had been one of her favorite things about being intangible. She didn’t think she could stand this for very long.
“Hahahahahahahehehehehehey! Quit it you little perv!” she screamed. “I’m a hahahaha teacher here, dammit – ahehehehahaha! - and whoever’s doing this has got ahahahahaha detention for a month!”
Of course, even if they could hear her it had to sound like a pretty empty threat. How would she find out who was down there? For a second she thought it might be Kurt having some fun with her, but if so he would have ‘ported up to her eye level at some point just to tease her about it.
Then she thought it might be Jay Guthrie, Paige and Sam’s cousin, the kid with the angel wings. She had this thought about half a second after she felt a wide swath of feathers sweeping across her bare midriff. It tickled in a whole different way; Kitty scrunched up her nose and let loose a flurry of giggles.
“Hehehehehehehe is that you Jay hehehehehe? I hope you realize Cannonball would so kick your ass if I asked him to!”
If her tormentor could hear her, he didn’t much seem to care. Now she felt some fingers prodding and pinching her waist from behind, hitting some devastating spots around the small of her back that she didn’t even know about. Shadowcat’s body waved and flailed and kicked frantically, but she had virtually no leverage even if she had somewhere to escape to. She couldn’t concentrate on her intangibility, either, with her full-body ticklishness consuming her synapses.
“Ahahahahaha okay okay ahahahahahaha oh God stop please ahahahahahaha!!!” Kitty cried. “You win, okay? Hahahaha whoever’s doing that just please ahahahahaha stop – I’ll do aahahahaha anything!”
That’s right about when she detected her jeans being unbuttoned and unzipped.
“Anything but THAT! Get the hell away from mehehehehahahaha!!”
She screamed laughter even louder when she felt fingers lightly dragging just below her waist, and around the lines of her panties. Shit, if Kitty thought she was sensitive before….
“Ohh hehehehe ohhh god hahahahaha ohahahakay this is officially NOT FUNNY ahahahahaanymore!!”
With one last desperate burst of energy, Shadowcat kicked both legs backward at the same time, as if trying to get huge momentum on a swing, and hurled them forward, swinging for the ceiling. And she made it – her legs went clear through the ceiling, and got stuck there.
Well, she’d phased again – at least her lower extremities had. But her situation had not improved much. Her feet and ankles were sticking out of the floor right in front of her, her heels just about touching the ground. Below the floor, everything in between her shoulders and ankles just hung there in a U. It wasn’t terribly comfortable. It also made her bare sides still an awfully inviting target for the kid whose mutant power was tickling the shit out of her. He just kept poking and prodding and wiggling around her tender love handles and protruding ribs. Kitty thrashed her head back and forth, spraying laughter around the hall like a sprinkler, her ponytail whipping around and smacking her in the face
Just when she thought she was going to burst from laughing so hard, the cavalry arrived in the form of a small pet-sized dragon.
“Ohahahaha Lockheed! Thank God!” she cried as her long-time friend perched between her feet. “Get some help, pal! Hahahahahaha get me outta here! Go on!”
Lockheed regarded her inquisitively, not moving.
“Come on, buddy ahahahahaha can’t you see I’m ahahahahaha s-suffering heehehehahehere!!”
Lockhead seemed to ignore her, turning his attention to her left foot. He nudged it with his snout, sniffing it. And when that little stream of breath curled along the ball of her foot, Kitty knew she was now, amazingly, even more screwed.
“Ohhhhhh no no no Lockheeehehheheheheheehee!!!!!”
Kitty’s foot jerked away from the curious dragon, but she didn’t have much maneuverability. When Lockheed stuck his tongue out and started to affectionately lick her bare sole, Kitty’s giggles redoubled.
“Eeeeehehhehehehehehe!! Et tu, Lockheed? What hahahahaha kind of way is this to treat ahahahahaha a friend?”
But dragons, apparently, could not grasp the concept of ticklishness, or more importantly of how torturous it could be. He innocently continued darting his rough tongue over Kitty’s sole.
“Ohahahahahaheheheha someone make it stop!” Kitty Pryde shrieked. “No more!!”
With her eyes squinting shut, she felt Lockheed depart before she saw it. The tickling around her waist seemed to stop at the same time, and she was stunned but grateful for the sudden respite. She sucked in a few deep breaths. Then she caught a glimpse of her savior.
The knee-high white boots at her eye level were enough to make her relief fleeting. She craned her head up towards the gaze of Emma Frost, nearly six feet above her head.
“Unbelievable,” Emma scoffed. “I don’t know how this happened, but it’s an embarrassment to this school, Ms. Pryde.”
“Well, that is your department now isn’t it,” Kitty shot back, immediately fearing she’d regret that catty reflex.
Sure enough, Emma knelt and shot her a dirty glance. “I’d be careful with the smart remarks if I were in your position, Shadowcat. Don’t you think you’re in enough trouble as it is?”
“You’re right,” Kitty conceded, swallowing her pride. “I appreciate you ending that torture, at least. Now do you think you could help me figure out how to get out of this?”
“Oh, you would have described that as ‘torture,’ would you? That childish simpering? Well, that’s quite a shame Ms. Pryde,” Emma said with a hint of a smile. “Because you really should be disciplined for allowing yourself to lose control of your powers, and setting such a dreadful example for the rest of the student body.”
With that, Emma branished a long, snow-white plume, twirled it between her fingers.
Kitty gulped. Tried one last desperate time to phase herself free, again to no avail.
Unseen to her, in a doorway a few yards down the hall, Regan Wyngarde’s hand drifted south as she watched the young girl’s toes curl in anticipation of an illusion that felt all too real.
Jerry: Back to her place, strip down to bra and panties and have a tickle fight?
Elaine: That's really what you think women do, isn't it?
Jerry: Yes. I do.