So, I know that the free raffle I hosted was forever ago, but I had more difficulty writing than I thought I would. I hate to go back on my promises, but I'm not sure that I'll ever get around to doing the other two stories. I'm sorry.
With that said, here's my contribution for Megacycle, who asked for a sick female superhero story:
Jeanette Wilder slowly came through the automatic doors of the office building in which she worked. The snow leopard knew that she wasn’t late—at least, not yet—and was surely taking her time. She showed her company ID card to the clerk at the front desk and then set off toward the elevators with a sniffle. With a slight pause, she ran a hand across her nose, murmuring something unpleasant about the cold she knew she was getting.
Most people wouldn’t have given Jeanette a second glance as she walked by—just another person minding her own business on the sidewalk, in a restaurant, or here at work. But she was different. She was one of a group of individuals with special abilities who worked day and night to defend the city and keep its occupants safe, whether they knew it or not. There was Skyrocket, the bat who could take to the air at near-supersonic speed and had enhanced echolocation that could stun opponents; Shockwave, an unbelievably strong rhino who could stomp out earthquakes if he felt so inclined; Firebolt and Flamejet, twin fox sisters who could ignite most things with a touch and hurl their namesakes if necessary, and finally Jeanette, with the ability to freeze objects and launch icy rays, who went by the name Blizzard.
Of course, these were not the sort of powers that came naturally to most individuals, and all of them had to do their best to keep their abilities hidden from the “ordinary” people of the world. Jeanette and her allies worked for nobody, kept in contact in only the most clandestine ways, and generally tried to do nothing that would compromise their identities in their day-to-day lives. Unfortunately, there are some times when it is all too easy to slip up and be caught—and Jeanette was worried that she might be edging closer to one of those now. Another rub of her nose dulled the annoying tingling making itself known in her nasal passages, and she hoped against hope that that would be the end of it.
The elevator stopped, its doors opening smoothly thanks to a dedicated maintenance staff. It nearly reminded Jeanette of a hotel elevator, only lacking the faint *ding* sound those made. She stepped out onto her floor, took a right turn, and headed for her desk. The feline woman stole a glance at the wall clock as she walked. 8:29, still on time if only by the smallest amount. Her near-lateness did not worry Jeanette; she had been almost struck by far worse things than a lecture from her supervisor.
Her curved ears gave a minute twitch as she passed by some other employees, catching fragments of their conversations. There was always something to talk about the day after one of her sojourns as “Blizzard”, and she found it advantageous to get the layperson’s view as to what happened—the better to be able to repeat it if she were asked herself if she had heard the news.
“They were at it again, yesterday. I can’t believe it! How could . . .”
“I heard Blizzard was lucky; those thugs would have hurt her bad if she hadn’t iced ‘em.”
A faint shiver ran down Jeanette’s spine. She did not want to think about that again. The group she had been up against the previous night had had much better equipment than anything her force had met before, and only through a monumentally powerful blast of her icy powers had they been able to win. Now that survival was no longer an immediate need, Jeanette was noting her suspicions as to the source of the powerful gear, but another twitch of her triangular nose reminded her of the strain her maneuver yesterday had placed on her body. Apparently, she was not completely immune to her own control of the subzero. The snow leopard knew she should be grateful that she only had caught a cold, but that thought did not improve her mood.
At long last, she reached her desk. As she slid into her chair, Jeanette let out a small sigh, drawing the attention of her two closest co-workers: a neat, orderly skunk named Brianna, and Devin, a small, glasses-wearing mouse. Both noticed her lethargic posture and dulled eyes.
“You alright?” Brianna asked.
Jeanette made a dismissive wave with one hand. “Think I’m getting sick, but I’m not too bad yet, and I remembered what the boss said about how I was needed today.”
“Oh. Well, let us know if you need anything,” the skunk offered.
“Thanks, but I’ll be fine,” Jeanette replied, sounding slightly congested. Her companions returned to their own work, and Jeanette reflected that she should do the same. Doing her best to put the steadily-increasing tickle in her muzzle out of her mind, she signed into her computer and turned to the stack of paperwork next to her.
Ten minutes later, Jeanette was finally resigned that her attempts to tame her nose with willpower would not succeed. What had started as an annoying tingling around the rims of her black nostrils had been slowly working its way backwards into her muzzle. The tickle itself wasn’t terrible, but its coverage was still threatening to trigger a sneeze soon, and Jeanette knew that letting one of those out in front of her co-workers—or anyone, for that matter—was simply not an option. Hoping for a moment of solace, she pulled a tissue out of the travel pack in her purse and blew. It left behind a film of slightly yellow mucous, which she wiped away with another tissue, but it did nothing to alleviate the burning sensation inside her nostrils. There was no way around it—Jeanette was going to sneeze soon, and she would rather do so on her own terms.
With a harsh sniffle, she pushed herself out of her chair and began to make her way to the women’s restroom, trying to ignore the sideways glance Brianna gave her. The feline carefully pushed open the door, silently praying for no one else to be present. A quick glance at the stalls confirmed a lack of any feet. With a sigh of relief, Jeanette made her way toward the furthest stall from the door.
The extra space of the handicapped stall was a small blessing for Jeanette. The snow leopard carefully closed the door behind her and turned the lock, just in case. Then she brought her attention forward, to the steadily intensifying itch in her nasal passages.
A few quick, sharp sniffs sent dense puffs of air through her nose, causing the tickling to spike. She gasped, her eyes tearing up and closing almost completely.
“uh . . . Heh . . . HEHh . . .”
Suddenly the urge receded just slightly, granting Jeanette no relief and denying her the release she wanted. With a growl and a clench of her teeth, she tried sniffing again, but barely felt any difference.
Getting irritated with her stubborn nose, Jeanette brought her tail up between her legs and grasped it in her hands. She brought the flexible appendage up to her face, touching the fluffiest fur at the end of her tail to the tip of her irritated nose. Then she took a deep sniff.
The effect was immediate. Jeanette felt the individual hairs pulled into her nostrils, and the inhale caused them to sway, brushing the inside of her nose. Immediately the tickle became irresistible. Her eyes squeezed tightly shut, tears pushed out to run down her cheeks. Her head and torso craned back as she took in a deep breath, her ears flattened, and her hands came up to catch the impending explosion.
“HAahh . . . HAAAHH . . . HAAAAAAAHHHH-TSCHIIIEEEEWWWWWWWWWWW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”
Jeanette’s spotted tail spiked out behind her, striking the door roughly. The snow leopard threw herself forward, trying to catch as much of the icy spray she knew was coming in her hands as she sneezed. There was a pause as the long release ended before Jeanette dared to open her eyes and look around, the monster sneeze having, for the moment, satisfied her nose.
A coating of yellow slime had frozen to each of her hands, and she stuck out her tongue in disgust at the sight. A flex of her fingers shattered most of it, but she knew she would need to wash them soon. Despite her best efforts, the frosty air from her lungs had deposited a coating of ice crystals on the walls, floor, and toilet in front of her. She groaned inwardly, thinking of the water it would create when it melted. Hopefully the janitor wouldn’t be too suspicious.
Suddenly, her sensitive ears picked up a sound that caused her heart to sink with dread: that of a clearing throat. Jeanette slowly turned around and undid the lock on the door, opening it to reveal Brianna, the skunk standing before her with crossed arms and a knowing smile on her face. The feline woman felt the blood drain from her face.
“So, is there something you’d like to tell me, Blizzard?”
I hope you all enjoy!