A Talespin fanfic by Lizzy Spencer (KarmaCat) Page 15
Gabriel came up the elevator and met Orly in the front parlor. He wore a yellow collared shirt with a bright green thunderbolt on the pocket and brown corduroy pants. He had bright blue frame sunglasses on, a gift Orly had had imported from Europe for his birthday. No one else in Cape Suzette had a pair like them.
"Hi!" he exclaimed when he saw her, running towards her and picking her up off the ground. Orly shrieked. Gabriel was a lot stronger than she was and could pick her up. He swung her around and then let her back down to the floor.
"What're you all happy to see me?" Orly asked dizzily.
"You're gonna be gone for the weekend! That will be very bad. I will have to stay home and deal with my psychotic mother. She's going to ask me to look at swatches or fabric, Orly, swatches, for the love of God!"
Orly cocked her head in mock sympathy. "You poor baby!"
"Poor baby right! Do you know the horror that is my mother?" He put his hand on his hip and batted his eyelashes, letting his wrist go limp, putting on a womanly voice in imitation. "'Oh, Gabey, Honey Sweet, would you come down here? Does this magenta match the forest green? Oooh, wouldn't this be lovely? Ooooh!' And I'm just like, 'Shut it, you harpy!'"
She elbowed him in the side. "I thought you liked color coordination."
His jaw dropped a little. "Just because I'm...doesn't mean I-! Besides, hello!, look at what I'm wearing."
Orly laughed. "Say no more, Gabriel. Heh heh. Honey Sweet."
He shot her a look. "Don't you dare call me that!"
"Honey Sweet, Honey Sweet!"
He shook his head, smiling. "I mean it, Orly, Don't do it."
"I'm warning you-"
"Okay, that's it!" Gabriel suddenly rushed Orly and picked her up, but she slipped out of his rams and stumbled to the floor, pulling Gabriel down with her. They commenced to wrestle.
"HONEY SWEET! HONEY SWEET!" Orly shrieked with laughter.
"Um, FOUL SEDUCTRESS!!!"
Orly snickered. "Yeah right, Gabe."
Gabriel held Orly down by her shoulders. "You know what it's time for?"
"No Not that!"
"Oh yes! It's time for the Atomic Noogie!"
"GABRI-" but her voice was cut off by Gabriel trapping her in a head-lock and rubbing his knuckles against her head.
"That'll teach you to call me Honey Sweet, huh?"
"Nyeggeeh! Let me go!" She slapped his arms.
"Take it back!" he said, "or say Uncle, your choice, you know, whatever."
The door opened and closed, and a deep voice rumbled, "Gabriel, exactly what are you doing to my daughter?"
"Oh! I, um, I mean I - nothing!" He released her and quickly got to his feet.
Orly was still on the floor laughing. "It's okay Papa, we were just playing around."
Shere raised and eyebrow at Gabriel. The young man glanced about nervously.
"Papa! It's okay! Really!"
Shere headed for the elevator, eyeing the young man. "It had better be," he replied.
Gabriel swallowed and gave a salute. "Heh, right, sir."
Orly got up and Shere left.
"Your dad is really scary," Gabriel said.
"I know," Orly sighed. "Isn't he great?"
The purple and white plane gleamed in the morning sunrise, the SK insignia glowing like another sun. Orly and Sarabi were giving the panther assistants their luggage. They both wore sunglasses.
Shere looked at the plane.
He hated planes.
After August's death, he thought he would never get on a plane again, but it simply became too inconvenient. He needed to be a lot of places. Besides, air travel was just as dangerous as any other form of travel. Any unfortunate incident in any moving object could take a life.
So he got onto the plane as he had millions of times before, the smell of leather and polish almost overwhelming. They cleaned the plane every other day. They didn't need to. The scents were stronger than they needed to be, all on account of too many people kissing his ass.
Oh well. Better that way than not.
Sarabi took a seat on a couch near a window and stretched her arms back. She wore a white collared shirt and a black skirt, taking her sunglasses off. Orly was sewing the end of a purple sachet, sitting Indian style. She wore a short, lacy, baby blue dress with that blue butterfly in her hair, and her army boots, a few pins between her lips.
"I think she'll like this," she said to him between teeth clenched to keep the pins from falling.
"I'm sure she will," he replied. "It was very thoughtful of you."
"Yeah well, I never get to see her. I like the way she talks to you."
Sarabi looked thoughtfully out the window as the plane took off, engines roaring. Shere steadied himself against the seat. "What was that, Orly?"
"I said I like how she talks to you. Every time she sees you, she says, 'Oh, there you are, Shere! You were always so good to my daughter.' I like to think about that."
"I bet. Here, could you hold these for me? I don't want to swallow them," she asked, handing him the pins.
Sarabi held her chin in her hand and peered at the receding city of Cape Suzette as the plane flew up and over the cliffs. She thought of James's roses. Did he want a relationship with her now? Did she want one with him? She couldn't decide whether she never wanted to see him again or if she wanted to visit him at night in the ninth floor employee lounge a thousand times more...but she couldn't think about it now.
What her father had implied earlier frightened her. The thought that she actually had CONTROL over these powers of hers...could it be?
"Don't look at the engines," she thought to herself over and over. "Don't look at them. Don't make them burn out. Don't look at the engines...oh, Sarabi, stop being so irrational!"
A bit of random turbulence shook the plane. Sarabi gripped the armrests. She closed her eyes and swallowed, her ears popping.
"Don't look at the engines. Don't look at the engines...."
The Iron Vulture floated, plump and happy, a few miles off the coast of Cape Suzette. Karnage and LaRoca had been talking on the bridge, but it was obvious where their talks always led...currently, they were trapped in a perfect embrace in front of the wheel, silhouetted against the sunlight gleaming in from the great window there.
Maddog opened the door to the bridge and respectfully looked away, though he wasn't expecting to see anything else. He had learned over the past three years LaRoca had been with them that if she and the captain weren't talking or arguing, they were--
He cleared his throat, still looking away.
Karnage took himself away from LaRoca long enough to look to Maddog and give an exasperated sigh. "WHAT, you idiot?"
LaRoca gave a snickering laugh.
"Um, Captain, um," he began in his whining voice.
"Get on with it, I'm busy," he snapped. She gave him a dubious look.
"Yeah, um, Shere Kahn's plane is in the air, Captain."
"With the Jade Parrot?" LaRoca asked.
"It, er, could be presumed." Maddog found her intoxicating. She knew it, too. She sauntered toward him and took his chin in her hand. "Well, why don't you be a good little underling and call the men to order, yesno?"
"Mmmmmokay," Maddog said with a slight tremble. He stared at LaRoca until she physically turned him around and pushed him out the door.
She smiled at Karnage.
He had his arms crossed, a stern look on his face. "I wish you wouldn't do that."
"Do what?" she replied, feigning innocence.
"Make kissy with them. Flirt. It distracts them." He walked towards her, his boots making hollow noises against the metal floor.
She tossed her hair over her shoulder and put her sword at it's hilt. "From what? Being drunk?" Karnage shook his head. She put her arm around him and traced a circle around one of his golden jacket buttons with her finger. "Jealous, mon cherie? You know I would much rather distract you, don't you?" She took either side of his face and kissed him for a good long time. There was a knock at the door.
"We should collect everyone," she said between kisses. "Get Arson. She'll love this. Leave Cosette with Senor...I think...." LaRoca stopped talking. They were quickly fading into each other again. Finally she pushed him away, looking at her watch, laughing. "You know what, mon cherie?"
"Hmm?" he asked against her ear.
"We have a plane to plunder. Like now."
"Oh, right. That." He lifted her chin with his index finger. "You make me forget. Naughty." There was another knock at the door.
"Naughty? Does that mean I'm going to get punished?"
He laughed and headed towards the door. "Maybe later, ma cherie. Right now we-"
He opened the door and found a young girl, a black fox with paper straight hair to her waist, looking up at him firmly, her little arms crossed. It was Cosette, LaRoca's nine year old daughter. She wore a long tan dress with a leather corset looking thing at her waist, the sleeves falling off her shoulders.
"Why didn't you let me in? I knocked."
Karnage smiled and picked her up, throwing her into the air and catching her. She squealed. "You are in now, little thing!"
"Ack! Put me down!"
He tossed her over his shoulder like a blanket. "Now where did Cosette go? She was here a minute ago. Maybe she fell out of the bay, yes?"
"I'm right here! Put me down!" Her black tail whipped into his face. Unlike her mother and Karnage, Cosette had a very minimal accent. "You forget that I have a dagger! I could get you!"
Karnage smiled wide, showing his teeth, and looked to LaRoca, then lifted Cosette off his shoulder. "A dagger? Your first dagger?" he asked, delighted.
Laroca smiled. "Yes. She is old enough not to hurt herself."
He kneeled down next to the girl. "Let me see it," he said gravely.
Cosette clicked open a small case on her wrist and pulled out a freshly sharpened, seraded-edge dagger. It had a gleaming, polished oak handle, a golden skull and crossbones imprinted on it.
"Senor made it," she gleamed. Karnage turned it over in his hand. Senor was her guardian when her mother was away, a very big spanish bulldog, bigger than Dumptruck. No one messed with him.
"Hmmm. Very nice work. You do know what this means, don't you?" The ear with the cut in it twitched.
"Yes, but I want you to say it," she said.
"This means," he said, handing her the dagger, "that you're a young pirate. Your first step. Think of it, Cosette, one day you will have your own plane-"
"And my own sword? Like yours?"
"Even bigger than mine!" he exclaimed. "And you'll be the most feared pirate on the seven seas, like me, yesno?"
LaRoca patted her daughter on the head and then said, "Karnage, we have to go! Plunder! Plane! Now! Jade Parrot, remember?"
"Oh yes." He stood. "You make me forget, Cosette. All of you crazy women making me forget things." They began to walk out, LaRoca descending quickly down the steps yelling orders. The pirates respected her as a leader. She was just as skilled as Karnage, if not more. The woman wielded power.
"Can I go with you?" Cosette asked, her eyes sparkling.
"I don't think so, little thing. Not yet."
"Oh." She looked down, disappointed. "Then come here."
He kneeled, and she gingerly kissed him on the cheek. "Bring me something pretty, Donkey," she whispered in his ear.
Before he got into his plane, Karnage found LaRoca, grabbed her round the waist and dipped her into a kiss. He did that every time they went out to plunder. "For good luck," he said.
LaRoca smiled. "And there's more luck where that came from, mon chere."
They parted and got into their respective planes. LaRoca saw a burst of flame and heard a shrill, wicked laughter running behind her.
She grinned to herself.
The slim, yellow bear climbed up the side of Laroca's plane, pushing her aviator glasses up over her forhead, the leather in her brown bomber jacket creaking. Her reflection gleamed in the black skin of the plane.
"Get in your plane, Arson, we have to go!"
We're gonna get Khannie, we're gonna get Khannie!" Arson sang joyfully. "It's about time that cat went down!! I'm gonna get that rat back for layin' off my daddy an' leavin' us poor so many years ago. I'm gonna give it to 'im good!" She grinned and fired her flame thrower into the air, sending up a five-foot column of orange and blue heat. "Real good! M'hee hee he! I've been wain' my whole life for this."
LaRoca patted Arson on the back. "That's the spirit, mon amie, but all we really want is the Jade Parrot. No blood this time."
Arson looked disappointed, but then giggled. "Maybe no blood, but there's always time for fire!" She jumped down from the plane and ran to her own, that psychotic laugh echoing after her.
LaRoca revved up her engine.
Orly had fallen asleep against her father's shoulder, her hand resting gently against his forearm. The trip to England was a long one. Sarabi's hair was a creamy silhouette against the dusky sunburst outside. She held a book open but didn't appear to be reading it. It was almost as if she were looking through it. She reached over and got herself a bottled water.
Orly sighed and moved against his shoulder. He leaned over and gently kissed her on the top of the head, listening to the peaceful hum of the engine. Shere felt almost as if he could fall asleep himself, warm as this all was.
Sarabi made a sudden movement in her seat, taking a long look out the window.
"Do you see something?' Shere asked.
"No," she replied quietly, still looking. "I...I felt something."
"Like what, my dear?"
She gasped and turned, her hair slashing like a whip. "Father, get down!"
"Wha-" But he didn't have time to finish. With a series of fantastic pops, bullets came ripping through the fuselage of the plane. He swept his great arm around Orly, who had awoken in a daze. "Papa, what's going on?"
"Grier, what's happening out there?' Shere yelled up to the cockpit.
"Pirates!" Grier yelled back.
"Get rid of them!" Shere ordered, holding his daughter to the floor.
A crackling voice came over the intercom. "Hello, Khan-plane. This is the infamous pirate Don Karnage. I would like to inform you that my rabid collective and I will be shooting you down in approximately...now! Hee hee! Salutations!"
"Not him," Shere groaned.
Another clip of bullets raked through the cabin. Shere placed his great paw between Orly's shoulder blades so she couldn't get up, although it wasn't as if she was going to anyway. She looked to Sarabi. 'Pirates?"
Sarabi nodded calmly.
"You two stay here," Shere said. "Stay on the floor. Don't move." He removed his hand from Orly's back and cautiously went into the metallic cockpit, where Grier had a sweaty death grip on the controls. The plane shook and he heard his daughters cry out. He held on to the headrest of the co-pilot's seat.
He looked out the windshield. The sky was dotted with thousands of small planes, like chunks of chocolate in a sorbet sky.
"They're everywhere, sir!" Grier said. "I can't lose them! On top, on bottom, on the sides! They came out of nowhere!" More bullets and the plane shook again.
Shere looked down at Grier sharply. "Get us through this."
He turned to get back into the cabin, but a great thud and Grier's sudden "Oh my God!" made him turn.
A female pirate had jumped to the nose of the plane, a brown fox with long black hair that flew against the sunset. She gave a friendly little wave and then proceeded to swing herself over to the side and knock the left window in with a powerful kick. The howling wind blew glass into his face.
Shere backed away as the woman leapt through, her sword drawn and ready.
"Hello there, boys!" she purred. "How are we this fine evening?" She narrowed her eyes and pointed the sword at Shere's throat.
Grier pressed autopilot and rose from his seat to stop her, but another pirate came swinging through the cracked windshield, kicking Grier in the face in the process. It was the blue clad villain known as Don Karnage.
He, too, had his sword drawn. He looked admiringly at the woman holding Shere at bay. He grinned mischievously, showing his pointed teeth. "So, we meet again, Mr. Khan. You have something I want, my friend."
Shere raised his eyebrow. "Ah, yes. Karnage. Why don't you come into the cabin and have a drink, and we'll discuss whatever it is you-"
The female shoved the sword closer to Shere's throat. "No chit-chat, you. Hand over the Jade Parrot of Pierre Ku-Ku and nobody gets hurt. We know you have it."
There was a pause, the wind howling through the cockpit. Shere glanced down to look at Grier. He was lying face down, a dark halo around his head. Shere spied one of the man's teeth in the corner.
He nodded. "You've been doing your homework, I see. And indeed I do have it. But it's not on this plane. I'm having it shipped to England on one of my cargo crafts next week."
"You lie," Karnage hissed. He made a slight motion to the female, and she tried to break through Shere's large countenance to get into the cabin. Shere blocked her way and she waved her sword at him, her eyes burning.
"What are you hiding back there, rich man?'
"My daughters," he replied, stoic, not letting any of the very real fear he felt for them show.
"I wouldn't dream of it," she replied, but Shere couldn't tell whether he she was genuine or not. She ducked under his arm entered the cockpit, and not two seconds later did Shere hear them gasp, and Orly command, "Stay back!"
"I'm not going to be hurting you," the female said sassily, as if it was something they should have known. "I'm just looking for something."
"I said STAY BACK!" Orly yelled.
"QUIET!" the female yelled back.
Shere looked fiercely to Karnage. "If your woman hurts them, I swear by every living-"
"Don't wet your pricey pants, Khan," Karnage hissed. "She is beautiful, but not cruel. And she is beautiful, isn't she?" He stuck the sword point up underneath the tiger's chin. "Yes-no?"
"Quite," Shere replied.
"Yes. But don't you touch her. Now back up. Through the cabin, now." Karnage pushed Shere with his sword. "Let's see what you have and have-not, hmm?"
Shere looked at his girls as he slowly backed into the cabin at sword point. Sarabi was in a corner calmly holding her sister by the arms. Orly looked furiously angry. Her face was red. He had never seen her like that before.
"LET HIM GO!" Orly yelled at Karnage, struggling against her sister's grip.
"Stop it, Orly," Sarabi whispered. "Everything will be fine."
"Listen to your sister, my dear," Shere said.
The female had emptied out a storage bin in the back. "Nothing!" she called to Karnage. "Maddog and Dumptruck are in the cargo hold. They haven't found anything either. "
"LaRoca, Maddog and Dumptruck couldn't find their elbows in the darkness," he replied, never taking his eyes off of Shere.
She looked furtively to the girls. "Perhaps rich man isn't lying."
"Rich man's lyin'," called a voice from the cockpit. "Them rich men always do."
And in Arson ran in a burst of yellow lightening, her flame-thrower over her shoulder like a bat. She knocked Karnage out of the way before he could stop her, and yelling, "YOU RAT!" clocked Shere hard across the face with the butt of her flame thrower.
"ARSON, NO!" LaRoca yelled. But it was too late. The chaos had already begun.
As the proud tiger stumbled back with the force of the blow, Orly broke free and threw herself onto Arson's back, her claws extended, ripping into the yellow bear's flesh. The woman quickly flipped Orly over her shoulder and slammed her to the floor. "Get off me, you vermin child!" She pointed her flame-thrower right at Orly' face. 'You wanna die, kiddo?"
Sarabi popped up behind Arson, who felt the round nudge of a pistol in the nape of her neck. "If I take out this vertebrae," the tigress hissed, "you'll never be able to feed yourself again. Understa-"
Orly shrieked as she saw her sister fall suddenly to the floor of the plane, having been pistol-whipped by Karnage. In a flurry of black and orange she saw her father stumble towards the pirates, already hurt but trying to free his daughter.
"Eh eh eh, stay back," Karnage said silkily.
Arson looked down and forcefully picked Orly up by the back of her dress, twisting the struggling girl's arms behind her. "Eh Karnage I say we take baby Khan Spawn with us. She''ll be worth more to 'im than any Jade Parrot."
There was a fantastic slam. Shere had picked LaRoca up by the shoulders and shoved her into the wall of the plane. The female fox cried out and writhed uncomfortably as Shere's razor claws dug into her skin. Orly gasped.
Karnage's boots pounded against the floor as he ran to rescue his lady, turning the weakened Khan by the shoulder and giving him a swift, angry uppercut to the chin. "I told you not to TOUCH her!"
"All right Karnie!" Arson cheered.
Orly was beyond words. She watched as the great column that was her father looked at her with determination, struggled to regain his footing, but finally stumbled and fell to the floor, beaten.
"PAPA!!" she screamed.
"Papa!" Arson imitated in a squeaky voice. "C'mon, you little rat." She twisted the girl's arm a little more. Orly looked to her right and saw Sarabi's motionless body. No. No! This couldn't be happening again. She felt her arm being twisted by the beast that held her. And she began to struggle in a instinctual, terrified flurry.
"Arson! There's no need for that!" LaRoca cried out, but the bear paid no attention. Orly looked with terror to her father. He still hadn't moved, but with some relief she saw the rise and fall of his chest. He was still alive.
Orly struggled against her captor's grip, trying to kick at her kneecaps. "Let me go! Let me go, you hyena!"
Arson sighed. "You Khans sure are feisty, ain't cha?" she said, and, hearing either LaRoca or Karnage cry out in protest, Orly saw the butt of the flame-thrower directly before she felt thunder reverberate through her skull, then blackness was her only existence.