Once Upon A Halloween

"I don't see why I have to go to this stupid party to begin with." Henry Callahan said as he lay sprawled out in a overstuffed chair.

"Listen," Kelly said, adjusting the mask of her tiger costume, "You were the one who said you wanted to do something. Why are you so grouchy about it?"

He bent his head over the back of the chair, and stared at the wall. "Sorry, I'm just not much for Halloween."

He heard her walk over. Reaching him, she grabbed his jacket, and pulled him forward. He smiled to himself as he saw her, her costume (which was a pair of hip boots, stockings, a leotard with a tail, gloves, mask, and a head band with ears, all in a tiger motif) contrasted well with the chocolate black of her skin, making her looked very sexy.

"You going to be like this ALL night?" she asked.

He tilted his head. "Maybe; if nothing goes too off-kilter, probably not."

She patted him on the cheek. "You have a costume, or are you going to go in that gaudy jacket?"

He glanced at his reflection in the mirror. He was in his usual dress of worn blue jeans, a black sweater over an off-white t-shirt, and an old army jacket. Looking back, he grinned. "I look fine!"

She messed up his hair, letting go of his jacket. "If you insist, get ready to go then." She smiled at him, and walked out of the bedroom, the tail of her costume bouncing as she walked.

He stood, adjusting his sweater, and walked out of her bedroom, into the hall, and into his room. They were among the fifteen occupants of the boarding house they lived in, and didn't exactly live together, nor were they even an item. Henry liked it that way.

Glancing around his room, he sighed. As much as he wanted to go to this party as a normal guest, everything about him was screaming that he should at least be prepared for some problems. Pulling out the top drawer of his dresser, he removed his gun.

Grimacing at the fact that he was only comfortable with it on his person, he checked the clip to be sure it was full. Then, making sure the safety was on (something he did from experience, after once shooting himself in the rear), he put it into it's holster on the back of his belt.

Running his hands over his hair once to try and flatten it out, he stepped out of his room, locking the door behind him. Just in front of the door Kelly waited, a short heavy jacket pulled over her skimpy costume.

"Going to be warm enough?" he asked.

She grinned, showing she had added a pair of fake fangs to the costume, the kind of fangs that are molded for the wearer's teeth and looked real.

Grabbing his arm, she started leading him to the stairs. "Sure! It's only a quick walk to the car."

He shook his head as they descended the steps, and out the front door. On the way, he gave a quick wave to Ms. Baker, the boarding house's owner. He liked her, and the place;, he also was lucky enough to have been able to live there for about four months. That was longer then any other place he had lived at in the past three years.

But that was part of his job, one of the less likeable parts. That, along with always having to eventually leave his friends when his work moved someplace else.

He shook his head a bit, his longish hair tickling the back of his neck. Now was not the time to worry about such things. He was going to a party, and he decided he might as well enjoy it.

* * *

About twenty minutes later, he pulled himself out of the passenger side of Kelly's car. On the other side Kelly was doing the same, dropping the keys into her coat pocket.

Slamming the car door, he glanced up at the house where the party was being held. It was a large sprawling manor house; he guessed from the windows that it had at least twenty rooms. It looked to be from the turn of the century, and also in very good condition.

The place was owned by the local colleges, though not located on any of the three campuses. It was used for social functions and other such gatherings, and could also be rented out, like it had been this night.

He proffered his arm to Kelly as she walked around the car. "Would the lady like an escort?"

She smiled, and wrapped her arm around his. "That would be very kind, sir."

They walked the distance to the house, going around the twenty or so other cars in the parking area. Reaching the front door, he knocked. Slowly the door opened, with the obligatory creaking hinge. Behind it stood a zombie butler.

"Come in," he said, pushing the door open for the pair. Kelly stepped in first, unhooking her arm from Henry's. As she passed the threshold, she pulled off her jacket.

"I'll take that," the butler said.

She smiled, handing it to him. "Thanks, Steven."

He nodded, then glanced at Henry. "Are you coming in, sir?"

Henry smiled, stepping inside. "Think so. Maybe," He joked.

Steven glanced at Kelly. She waved her hand. "This is Henry, the one I told you about."

He nodded. "The one with the dry humor."

Henry smiled. "Not dry, dehydrated."

Kelly grinned. "Very dry." Then grabbing Henry's arm, she pulled him inside. "Come on."

They headed up a short set of steps into a large main room, inside of which the party was going on. There were about forty people all told, in costumes ranging from animals to the old classics like Frankenstein, as well as a fake celebrity or two. Henry appeared to be the only one not in a costume.

Glancing back at the butler, he asked, "Who was that?"

Kelly smiled. "Steven, my boss."

This caused a raised eyebrow, an effect he had worked on since the first time he had seen Mr. Spock do it on Star Trek.

Kelly lightly punched him in the arm. "It's a small company, as I said; maybe you should apply for a job. I've seen you with my computer, I'm sure you'd be hired on the spot."

He shook his head. "I can't."

She smiled again. "Ya, you'd rather lounge around and do nothing for a job."

"I wish I could," he said, the phrase having a double meaning.

She shook her head. "Well, talk around. I'm sure there are more than a few people who would love to meet you." Then with a smile, she headed off into the crowd.

Henry shrugged a bit, and headed off to a side room, where refreshments had been set up for the party. Grabbing a couple cookies, he leaned up against the door, and watched the party.

The main room was large, not ballroom sized, but large none the less. It easily held all the people, as well as a stereo-system in one corner, and a karaoke machine in another. He smiled to himself, he never understood the appeal of singing off-key to a video that had the real singer dubbed out.

The party seemed to be well off, most of the people there where dancing to a slow song, a few others stood on the sides of the room talking. He was happy to see that Kelly had already found someone to dance with.

Brushing the hair out of his eyes, he nibbled on the cookies. He wasn't expecting someone to tap him on the shoulder.

He turned, one hand moving back a bit out of habit. Behind him stood a TALL man, at least six and a half feet tall. He had on a vampire costume that went well with his pale skin.

"You must be Henry," the man said with a smile.

He nodded. "Yes I am," he said, letting his hand drop to his side. "Who are you?"

"I'm Bruce."

The name rang a bell with Henry. "'The Gentle Giant' Bruce?"

He nodded. "I see Kelly's told you about me."

"Not that much. Though she obviously told you enough about me so you could find me."

He shrugged. "It wasn't that hard. She guessed you probably wouldn't wear any kind of costume."

He glanced back into the main room, where, now that the music had picked up, everyone was dancing. "She knows me well enough, I would say."

"She also told me you where a gun collector."

Henry turned back to Bruce. "Well, I wouldn't say collector. I have one or two," he smiled, "and a crossbow."

Bruce smiled back. "Crossbow? Now that's a nice toy. I'm not anywhere near a collector, all I have is one I can barely hit anything with."

He shook his head, and was about to go into a rant on the importance of being able to aim, when someone screamed.

Instantly he spun on his heel, and looked back out into the main room. Anyone could tell that the scream wasn't one from a good fright, but someone in real terror, and he could easily see why.

Standing on the far side of the room, in front of the now roaring fireplace, stood an eight foot tall demon.

* * *

Kelly smiled at the lion she was dancing with. His costume was full body, so she couldn't easily guess who it was, but still, she was sure it was Dan. It wasn't that hard of a guess in truth, as he had lions all over his desk at work.

As the current song ended, another slow song started. Falling in close to the lion, she started drifting over the floor worth him. Out of the corner of her eye she saw Henry was talking to Bruce; she smiled again, glad he was talking to someone instead of just sitting in a corner starring off into space.

A few seconds later, she heard the lion say, "Who's that?" Which identified him as Dan by his voice.

Looking back behind her, she saw a guy in a cheap devil costume that didn't fit too well. He was alone, and she didn't recognize him. "I don't know. I wonder why Steven let him in."

Dan shrugged in his costume. "Must be one of his friends, or something," he said, sweeping her back up in the dancing.

She happily kept up with him, as she had been seriously considering asking him out to dinner some time in the following days, even if the idea didn't sit too well with her. Though she couldn't help watching the guy in the devil costume out of the corner of her eye.

She didn't know what it was about him that rubbed her wrong, but there was something. He just didn't fit in with the others, in fact most people didn't seem to notice him as he worked his way over to the large brick fireplace that dominated the left wall of the room.

Being the only one in the room to really notice this guy, she was also the only one to see what happened next. As she watched, the fireplace, which had been out, blazed to life around the guy. Looking up at the crowd, he grinned, his face turning a pale, then a dark red.

His body started to expanded inside of his costume, forcing the fabric to it's utmost limits, then slowly ripping though the seams. Where the costume had ripped, Kelly could see large muscles that ANY bodybuilder would give his life for, and yet the man still expanded.

He was growing taller as well, reaching nearly seven feet tall already. She watched in fascination as his legs bent back at his feet, his shoes ripping apart, revealing a pair of hooves. From his forehead grew a pair of deadly looking horns. As the destroyed costume fell away, she saw a tail flicking behind his massive pure red body, the only covering on his form was some kind of loin-cloth that barely covered anything.

Slowly he looked right at Kelly and smiled, showing a pair of sharp yellow fangs. She was amazed, all this had only taken a few seconds, and no one else had apparently seen it.

Then someone else saw the demon, and a scream filled the room.

Instantly Dan pulled away from her, and looked around the room, as did everyone else. Almost at the exact same time, everyone saw the demon. There were a few more screams, and she saw someone next to her in an Army officer's uniform faint.

The demon raised it self up, looking over the crowded room, then smiled. "Dawn is hours away, you are all mine till then." His voice was like a cannon shot in the room.

Many of the people in the room starting shouting. The demon gave a look to the crowd, and they all fell silent. "That's better." He said. Then slowly raising one of his hands, he pointed a claw-tipped finger right at Kelly. "You, step forward."

She gulped, and started walking towards him. Her co-workers, and their dates parted in front of her. The sound of the heels on her costume clicking on the floor was the only sound in the room, the stereo having apparently been turned off.

Stopping in front of the hell-spawn, she looked at him.

"You saw my change," he stated.

She nodded, a bit of hair falling into her eyes.

The demon bent down, and looked her in the eyes. "I see you like being a tiger."

Again she slowly nodded, not liking feeling as defenseless as she did.

The demon stood up tall again, and announced to the room. "My power over you!" Then he flicked one hand down at Kelly. A ball of blue fire fell from his fingers, and hit her right in the face.

She tensed up, wondering what was going to happen. Instantly she got her answer as she felt her face tense up, and a tickle going over her nose, a tickle that got worse. Grabbing her mask, she pulled it from her face, knocking off the headband in the process.

Looking down, she watched as her face changed, the shape of her nose blurred and extended, along with her mouth, and whiskers grew out of her cheeks, as orange and black fur sprouted as well.

The tickling started to spread, first down her arms, and into her fingers. Staring at her hands, she watched the fingertips of her gloves expand, then rip as a pair of claws extended from her fingers. Her arms were already covered in the tiger-striped fur.

She looked down her body, watching the fur grow under her leotard as the tickling moved downwards. As it moved down her legs, the fur grew under her stockings, puffing them out a bit, then finally down her legs, into her feet, which she felt change even though she couldn't see them.

The tickling, now covering her body, started to fade a bit, but before it could, it suddenly all moved right to the base of her spine. Her eyes went a bit wide as she felt what had to be a tail grow out of her, stretching out the back of the leotard, and causing her some pain.

Finally the tickling faded totally. The demon above her laughed, then pointed to the side, where a wall mirror hung. "See yourself!" he ordered.

She turned, already knowing what she would see. She was a tigress in a tigress costume. Her face extended into a perfect little muzzle, with the cat lip, and even her ears poking up through her now much shorter hair. Reaching behind her, she pulled the back of her leotard to the side, letting her real tail spill out one of the leg holes.

"Amazing," she whispered, feeling her fake fangs resting on her tongue, pushed off by the growth of her teeth. Spitting them out into her hand, now paw, she set them on a coffee table a few steps away.

The demon raised himself up again. "Tonight you are mine! I will do with you as I please, as is my right!"

"NO!" Came a yell from the dinning room area. Everyone dived out of the way as Bruce came running, a butcher knife in hand.

The demon wasn't flustered in the least. With another flick of his hand, a second ball of fire flew out, hitting Bruce right in the chest.

He instantly started to change, and unlike Kelly's transformation it was almost instantaneous. His form stretched and blurred, pulling it self into that of a large dog.

The dog crashed at Kelly's feet, tangled in Bruce's costume, the knife on the floor a few feet back.

Smiling, the Demon pointed a finger at the dog that was Bruce. The dog quieted down, then fell asleep. "He won't be bothering me for tonight." Then he looked at Kelly. "You are lucky, you saw me, and I like you. Tonight you shall just observe my fun."

Then reaching into thin air, he pulled out a large leather collar. Before Kelly could react, he had snapped it around her neck. Then again reaching into nothing, he pulled out a leash, which he attached to the collar as well.

Pulling her close to him, he gave her another tooth-filled smile. Then looking over the room he started to size up the occupants.

He pointed his finger at someone's date, who was dressed up as a genie. "I think you will do nicely."

Fire started to build up on his finger, as a smile spread across his lips, but before he could unleash it, the still semi-quiet of the room was ripped apart by the sound of two gun shots. Kelly felt one blast right past her whiskers, and smash into the wall, the other buried it self into the fireplace.

The demon turned his head, his eyes burning, and stared at the door to the dining room. Standing there, holding the fired gun, was Henry.

"You missed," the demon said.

Henry grimaced, then started to run back through the dinning room.

The demon pointed his finger in turn at Dan, someone in a bear suit whom Kelly hadn't been able to place, and another co-worker who was in a Frankenstein costume.

"You, you, and you," he said; at each word a fire ball exploded from his hand. All three were instantly transformed into the same form as the costume they were wearing. The costumes themselves vanished as each person changed, only to show up again in a pile at the end of the fireplace.

"Go get him."

The three turned, and ran after Henry, only a few seconds behind.

The demon turned back to the crowd of people. "Now, where was I?" he asked, an evil smile on his face.

* * *

Henry ran around a corner, cursing himself for missing such an easy shot. Not that he was totally to blame, he hadn't had time to really aim, just point and shoot. Anything longer would have left him open to the same thing that had happened to Bruce.

He found himself in a short hallway, that had a staircase to one side. He started pounding up them. In his wake he could hear someone chasing after him. Reaching the top, he turned again, finding that they were covered by a third set of stairs.

Charging up them, he found himself in a short hallway with two doors, one of which was open, and light was shining through it.

"Damn it," he muttered, glancing over the railing, down the stairs. Below him he could see three transformed people coming around the corner, and about to head up the stairs.

Throwing open the door, he ran inside, and found himself in a huge attic. It spanned the whole house, and was covered with graffiti from different college kids who had worked on the place.

Shutting the door behind him, he started to run through the wide open room. The first thing he came across was a large raised area, that covered the entry way. It went back a few feet farther then the rest of room, and was mostly pitch black.

Pulling himself up on it, he scampered back into the darkness; pushing up against the far wall, he hoped he was mostly invisible.

A few seconds after he had gotten into position, he saw the three walk past him, moving slowly, searching for him. Of the three, the bear lingered behind, slowly looking over the room.

Henry took careful aim with his gun, not wanting to miss and do something he would regret. As he fired the gun, the sound of it echoed loudly in the enclosed space of the attic. The bullet ripped through the air, and hit the bear right in the shoulder.

The bear dropped to the floor, his form blurring as he returned to his normal form of a fortyish looking man, with a large potbelly.

Seconds after the bear fell, he heard the other two running over. Sliding out of the smaller area, his ears ringing, he jumped into their path. Then with a better aim then he had before, he hit the Frankenstein in the leg.

He collapsed as well, his form returning to normal.

The lion slowed, and stopped a few feet away, raising his paws. "The Master wants you," he said.

Henry raised an eyebrow. "Does he now? I doubt I will let you escort me." Then, taking aim again, he started to pull back on the trigger.

The lion bolted just as he fired, the slug smashing into the floor. Pushing past Henry, the lion ran out the door to the attic, and down the stairs.

"Damn, that leaves six shots," he muttered, reaching down to check the pulses of the two he had shot. Both were alive, and the bullet wounds were already starting to close up.

Standing, he brushed off his pants. "Mental note, always carry a second full clip." He started back down to the first floor.

This time his path was clear as he slipped back around into the dinning room. Carefully looking around the corner, he saw the demon standing in the center of the room, Kelly held close to him, not looking very happy. At his feet were two more people whom he had transformed into a pair of real black panthers.

The lion stood in front of him, talking to the demon, saying what, Henry couldn't hear, but he could guess. Finally waving the lion away, the demon stood to his full height, then yelled out in a voice loud enough to shake the foundations "O-Saukie!"

Henry stepped out into the open. "You bellowed?"

The demon smiled widely. "What a night, I get to play, and wipe out one of you!" Then in a quick move, he grabbed Kelly, and held her against his body.

"You have to kill her to kill me!" he yelled.

Slowly raising his gun, Henry nodded. "Tell me, what do you know of a Golden Gun?"

This caused the demon to pause. "Nothing."

"Pity," he said, aiming his gun. "That could have saved your life."

The demon laughed. "Fool! Your life shall be the one that needs to be saved!" Then raising his hand, he spread his fingers wide, pointing his palm at Henry. Seconds later a ball of green fire exploded into the air.

Henry grimaced again, but fired anyway. The bullet ripped through the air, and hit the green fire. Instantly both stopped, and the fire changed color from green to red to blue. Then in a flash of light, it vanished, though the bullet remained.

Instantly it was back almost to the speed it had been before, plowing its way through the air, then right into the center of the demon's palm.

The demon look at his hand, then back at Henry. "Silly, very silly."

Henry smiled, still keeping his gun aimed at the demon.

The demon blinked for a second, then looked back at his hand. It's color had turned to dark black, and was starting up his arm. His eyes went wide, as he took a step back, dropping Kelly.

Henry nodded to himself, then said, "Give my regards to infinity." Then with a quick pull of his finger, he fired another round.

The bullet slammed into the demon's chest, sending him back a few paces. Nearly instantly the same blackness spread out from the impact, quickly covering the demon's body. The demon took another step back, before his form started to crumble, then fell into dust on the floor.

As everyone stood captivated by the demon's demise, Henry fired off four more shots. One for each panther, one at the lion, and one at the dog who had been Bruce, who was still asleep in the corner.

Henry aimed at Kelly as well, but as he pulled the trigger, he came up empty. He grimaced again. "Definitely need to always bring a second clip," he said, slipping the gun back into it's holster.

He walked into the room, nodding as he saw that the others who had been transformed had changed back, and were out cold on the floor. Finally Steven, the zombie butler, stopped him. "What the hell happened here?" he demanded.

Henry raised an eyebrow. "What do you think happened? 'Cause that about covers it. Now there are two others up in the attic who should be coming around any time now. These four will be O.K. in a few minutes."

Steven nodded, still looking shocked, then waving to a few people, headed for the attic. Most everyone in the room looked in shock as well.

Henry walked over to Kelly, who was staring at the remains of the demon. "Let's get you back to the boarding house. I can get you back to normal there. Less violently, too."

She looked over at him. "What are you?" she asked.

"Human," he said. Then turned to face the crowd. "Listen everyone. You will all forget about this in about thirty minutes, so don't worry about explaining it. In an hour, all that you will remember is having a good time at the party. Please though, don't leave if you remember this."

They looked like they didn't believe him, but seemed to accept his statement.

Turning back to Kelly, he said, "You'll remember."

This caused her to furrow her eyebrows, as well as twitch her ears. "Why?"

"Because I'm going to have to take you back home to get you back to normal. There for you will move out of the demon's sphere of influence. So when the leftovers of his powers fade, it will take all memories of him from the people in that sphere. The boarding house is well out of that."

She nodded, pulling the collar off from around her neck. "Ok... I guess. I think I want to go home."

Gently taking her arm, he started leading her to the front door. Most of the people didn't seem to notice, as they were talking among themselves.

As he was about to leave, he heard someone calling out, "Stop."

Turning, he saw Steven coming up behind them. "You can't leave yet. You owe me, and everyone else here, one HELL of an explanation."

He smiled. "Listen, I have to go get Kelly back to normal. If you still want one in the morning, call her, and she will get us together. OK?"

Steven glanced at Kelly, then back to Henry. "Fine, but you had better give me one!"

"If you still want me to, I will," he said, then grabbing Kelly's jacket, he went out the door, and started for the car.

Digging out her keys, he opened the passenger side door for her. "I'll drive, if that's O.K."

She nodded, slipping inside the car. Henry moved to the driver's side, and got behind the wheel.

"That was mean, what you did to Steven," Kelly said, moving around in the seat a bit.

"It's true though; if he asks for one, I'll give it."

She looked at him, grinning some. "Yes, but I doubt he will remember to ask."

He 'hummed'. "Yes, there is that," he said, starting up the car.

She sighed. "Damn, it's hard to sit with this tail."

He nodded, pulling the car onto the road. "I would bet."

Finally she settled on a position in the seat. "You owe me an explanation, you know."

He nodded again. "Are you sure you want to hear it?"

"Yes."

Henry licked his lips. "Once upon a time, there was a man who sold his soul for a Golden Gun--"

Kelly cut him off. "Golden gun? Get serious here."

He gave her a sharp look.

She inched back a bit. "Ok, I'll let you tell it."

He grinned a bit. "Silly tigress. Now as I was saying, there was this Golden Gun. Along with it came six bullets, each of gold as well. If you carved someone's name on the bullet, and shot it, it would find them and kill them."

"A real bullet with your name on it."

He nodded. "Now, he used the first five to right what he felt were serious wrongs against his family. The sixth he saved, knowing that using it would then give his soul to the demon he had gotten the gun from. So he buried it, where only he knew, and went off to try and stop the demons in this world."

She paused, "which brings us to you."

He nodded. "Yes, I'm an assassin. Less than a good guy, and more then a villain. A real demon hunter, an O-Saukie. I have been for the past three years."

She leaned forward a bit. "So you're trying to find this demon you sold your soul to, and kill him, so he can't collect?"

Henry let out a deep chuckle, taking the car around a corner. "No... well... kind of. You see, it was my brother Justin who I'm talking about. He went out, signed up for all this, and promptly got himself killed."

Kelly looked down. "I'm sorry."

He shrugged with his head. "It's something I've lived with. So here I am, signed up in the same thing. Searching for the demon he got the gun from, as he is the only person in this universe who knows where it was buried."

"What will you do when you find it?"

He paused, as he pulled the car in front of the boarding house. Then he turned to her, and smiled. "I write a name on the last bullet, then point it down."

She slowly nodded. "I think I see."

He stepped out of the car, throwing her coat to her. "Come on, let's get you inside, and back to normal."

Digging into his pocket, he pulled out the front door key. As he was slipping it into the lock Kelly asked, "What would have happened if you weren't there?"

He paused, "Off hand, he would have had his way with all of you all night long. Then sent you home, with memories of having a great time at the party, and a three hour gap with a thinly buried memory of a mass alien abduction."

She laughed. "Alien abduction?"

He nodded, opening the door. Sticking his head in, he made sure it was all clear. "Ya, in this world, if you said you met a demon that transformed you, and had his way with you, more people would believe that than if you said you were abducted by aliens."

She grinned. "I never thought of it that way."

He shrugged, pulling her up the stairs. "Well, doesn't that explain a lot?"

She nodded.

"Now, I suggest you go get into something a bit more comfortable for your current form, and I'll get all that is needed to turn you back."

She nodded again, then slipped into her bedroom.

Henry sighed and went into his room. Throwing the gun onto his dresser, he pulled out the top drawer. Pulling out his locked box, he opened it, and took out a spare clip, replacing it with the one in his gun. He then took out a small pill, and set it to the side.

Then reaching under the bed, he pulled out his suitcase, and threw it on the bed. Scooping up his clothing from where he had thrown it, he started shoving it inside the case.

He was part way through when he heard Kelly say, "What are you doing?"

Turning, he saw her standing in the doorway, wearing a tight bathrobe. He could see her tail slowly swaying behind her.

"I'm packing," he stated.

She tilted her head. "I can see that, but why?"

He blew air over his teeth. "Because you know, because they may still suspect. Because of many things. I'm just glad the bullets dissipate after they're used, or there would really be problems."

She stepped inside the room, closing the door behind her. "Henry--" she started.

He shook his head. "Don't try, O.K.? I'm just glad my work didn't follow me home this time."

"Happens a lot?"

He nodded, closing the suitcase, and sliding it off the bed. "Too much."

Kelly nodded, taking his hand in hers. "If that is what you want. Now about changing me back. I do hope you're not going to shoot me."

He smiled. "No, no need. I only did that because I didn't come prepared for a demon attack. Usually I carry some pills made out of the same stuff I coat the bullets in. There is one sitting on the dresser for you."

She looked at it, then back at him. Slowly she pulled him down onto the bed. "What would happen if I didn't take it?" He pulled back one side of his mouth. "In a few days you would start changing back, in a week you would be your normal self again. It would be quite painful."

"How long can I wait before I must take the pill?"

"As long as you want." He said. "Why, are you thinking of staying this way for a time?"

She grinned. "Well it does keep the bed warm."

He chuckled. "If that's what you want. Come over any time before I leave so you can get the pill, O.K.?"

She cocked her head to one side. "But I don't want you to leave."

He shook his head. "That isn't an option."

"Bull, you can stay here if you want to, nothing is standing in your way. It's not like I would tell, and no one would believe it anyway, and if you're right, the others won't even remember! What are you running away from?"

Henry paused, looking at her, then down at his feet. "I'm not sure."

She rolled her eyes. "Let's put it this way, is it me?"

He blushed. "Ya... I guess it is. I think I'm kind of attracted to you."

She snickered. "Well, I'll be," she said, a bit of a southern accent creeping into her voice, "the feeling is finally mutual!"

He blinked. "What?"

She shook her head, running her fur covered paw over his arm. "You have to be the densest person I have ever met. I've been attracted to you since the day you moved in! What do you think all those lunches and dinners were about?"

"Ah... food?"

She laughed. "I guess so! But the point is, I was trying to get that across to you."

He shrugged. "I guess it kind of worked."

She grabbed him around the neck, and before he could react, kissed him hard on the mouth.

He stiffened up for a second, then as if unbidden, melted into her arms, the kiss extended between them, becoming deeper and more passionate with every passing second.

Finally the kiss ended. It lasted only a minute, but had felt like years to them both.

Kelly smiled down to him. "Do you like me this way?"

He slowly nodded. "I think I would like you any way. But you are so nice as a real tigress."

She kissed Henry on the cheek. "Then I'll stay this way as long as I can, for you."

He blushed again. "I'm flattered."

Snickering, she slowly moved over to the far side of his bed, by the door. "Good." Then slowly reaching up, she flicked off the lights in the room.

Neither one of them got much sleep that night.


This story is (c) 1999 by Fox Cutter, hardcopy reprints limited to one a person, all other rights reserved. This story may not be distributed for a fee except by permission of the author, and this copyright notice may not be removed.

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