David knocked on the door, rapping sharply on it and pulling in his breath
as he stood there. After a few moments, the door was answered by an
occupant; Kristine stood there, hair down to her shoulders.
"David? What are you doing here?" She said, tone indicating clear
surprise. "We can’t be seen together!"
"That’s what this is about, Kristine. May I come in?" He started in
without waiting for an answer, which got more surprise from her, but she
didn’t stop him.
Walking into the main room, David eyed the police scanner sitting on the
coffee table, on but at low volume. He briefly considered kicking it to
the floor, but decided against it. Heading over to the couch, he looked at
Kristine, who was shocked at his audacity. "May I sit?" he asked, pointing.
"...go ahead." she said, after a moment. She didn’t seem to expect this
behavior from him. She walked over to her own easy chair and sat down.
"What brings you over, David?" she asked, trying to be pleasant.
"Kristine, you know what brings me over."
"No, I don’t."
"OK, well, you SHOULD."
"..." Kristine thought for a moment. "I really don’t, David. Or should I
call you, Swiftstrike?" she said, glancing at him.
David winced as she played that card. He knew she would, but not this
early...he continued. "Cut the crap, Kristine. You need to stop wasting my
"Swiftstrike, I have no idea what you’re talking about."
David sighed, facepalming for a moment. After looking back up, he gave her
a level gaze. "Really, Kristine? You don’t know how you could possibly be
wasting my time? How about interrupting me at school? Or at work? Or other
times when I’m doing things or have plans?"
"Swiftstrike, when you joined me...you knew there were going to sacrifices
"That’s not what I’m talking about. I understood that, but
lately...lately, I think you’ve gotten overzealous in your quest."
"How DARE you, David!" she yelled. "I suppose you’d rather people get
"THat’s not what I said, Kristine! Calm down!"
She relaxed after a moment, then stared at him. "What do you mean, then?"
"Well, two days ago, you called me while I was on the phone. With my
mother. My SICK mother." he emphasized. "And four days before that, I was
taking an exam at school. And a week ago, it was when I was about to go
out on a date. She dumped me, because that’s the fifth time I’ve stood her
"David, there were CRIMES happening. It’s my job, and yours, to stop them!"
"Crimes are relative, Kristine. Really. I think you’re abusing your
"I swore to stop crime, David. You agreed to help."
"Yeah, that...look, I don’t mind getting inconvenienced by stopping a
murder, or a mugging, or a bank robbery. Hell, even a gas station knock
over. But lately...Kristine, that hasn’t been it."
"Seriously, do Swiftstrike and the Gryphon Countess have to show up at
"No. They don’t. Look...you know why I mentioned those incidents,
Kristine? Those aren’t the only times I’ve been inconvenienced, but they
were some of the worst."
"What do you mean?"
"Well, the phone call, you called me out to rescue a cat. From a tree."
"...it was stuck."
"Yeah, but you don’t need to be a superheroine to free a cat from a tree!
And you definitely don’t need your sidekick!"
Kristine brushed her hair back, looking nervous. "And the others?"
"When I was taking an exam, that was was an old lady. You summoned me to
help her cross the street."
"It’s a public service! And a week ago, there was a theft in progress we
"VENDING MACHINE FRAUD IS NOT THEFT!" David exploded. "You’re summoning me
when I’m not needed and you KNOW IT. And frankly, I’m getting utterly sick
of it. I can’t live a normal life like this, and there’s no benefit for me
in being your assistance if you’re going to abuse the power like that."
"You should’ve thought of that before you joined! I can’t work without a
sidekick, and you volunteered! It doesn’t work that way, you can’t just
quit on me!
"What, that you were going to totally abuse my trust I placed in you, for
your own glory? I should’ve thought of that? Goddammit, Kristine! This was
supposed to be a meeting of equals, not a boss/servant relationship!"
Kristine frowned a bit. "It’s not my fault that you didn’t consider how
hard it is to do this. Still...maaaaaaaaaaybe you have a point...I’ll have
Suddenly, the police scanner kicked in, interrupting Kristine.
"Robbery in progress...suspect armed and dangerous...corner of fifteenth
and Pine, at the gas station. All units. Civilians, do not attempt to
"YES!" Kristine shouted. "ANOTHER CRIME!" She jumped up excitedly. "COME
"Oh, no! Not this time!" David said, but he was already feeling the
vertigo wash over him. He staggered backwards, trying to stay on his feet.
He was not very successful, falling over onto all fours in short order.
His hands metamorphosed into large aquiline talons, a beak grew out of his
face, his legs turned into paws and hindlegs...he tried to protest, but his
speech came out as irritated squawks.
He looked back over himself in irritation, and indeed, just like every
other time Kristine did this to him, he was a large, quadrupedal gryphon.
Large enough to serve as a steed for a human, a role Kristine would soon be
filling, as soon as she finished getting changed. He turned back to look at
her, and didn’t see her. But he felt her, as she jumped onto his back,
landing right behind his wings and grabbing onto his fur. "Let’s go,
Swiftstrike!" she said, urging him forward. David moaned internally, but
obeyed, starting for the door and pushing out, making sure to close it
behind him, hearing the lock click shut.
As they moved out into the streets, he flapped his wings, taking off from
ground level up to the sky. He looked down, laser vision focusing in as he
tried to see the street signs. He knew where it was from the ground, but
things were a bit different up here. But it didn’t take too long for him
to get his bearings and tack over towards the gas station, coming down fast
towards the roof in a dive. He flared his wings as he came down, braking to
a stop, and landing on the roof with a thump, clearly announcing their
arrival to whatever robbers were inside.
Kristine jumped off his back, landing easily on the roof and materializing
a large spear in her hand as she walked towards the edge of the roof. She
jumped down and across to the gas station’s overhang above the pumps,
trying to get a view of the inside. David moved around the back, looking
for an entrance as he hopped down to the ground, and found a service door.
He figured it’d be audible, so he braced, and then smashed through it into
the station’s back end, making a lot of racket.
The noise distracted the robbers, and Kristine jumped down towards the
front bay window, and jumped through that as well, shattering the glass
into a thousand pieces. A gunshot went off, but there was no scream, so
David moved around into the main area for a pincer with Kristine. THere
were two of them, but only one gun between them, so David charged at that
one first. Another gunshot, but it was wide. David slammed into the robber
and bowled him over, and the gun went flying away, skittering under a
cabinet. He grabbed the man with a foretalon and held him down, slamming
him against the ground once to make sure it was clear he meant
business...and demonstrate how strong he was.
Meanwhile Kristine closed on the other thief, trying to hold him up at
speartip. "You won’t get me, Valkyrie" he sneered, and with a sudden
movement, brought around a stungun and hit Kristine’s metal spearhaft with
it. The pulse traveled up, and made her lose her grip on the entire spear,
as it clattered to the floor. Suddenly, the man was on top of her, jumping
in and taking full advantage of the stungun.
Kristine screamed incoherently for help, and David heard. Conflicted for a
moment...but he knew he had to. He slammed his crook down against the
ground one more time, hoping that he’d knocked him out, or failing that,
that he understood he would be less than pleased if he tried anything.
David pounced off him and over the counter, landing on top of the pile of
Kristine, the thug, and himself. WIth 14 limbs and over 700 pounds of
creature between the three of them, the stungun skittered off. Kristine
panted, trying to catch her breath, and moaning in pain at an injury.
David grabbed the thug and slammed his head against the counter, and then
And it was over. The robbery foiled, two thugs soon to be in custody, and
Swiftstrike had done it all. Kristine shakily stood up, and David looked
"Ohgod...I think I broke something...come on, Swiftstrike, the public can’t
see me like this."
Leave? Now? They could get away, and regardless, he EARNED this. He shook
his head. Kristine opened her mouth to argue, but the sound of approaching
sirens indicated there wasn’t time for it. She grabbed her spear, ran out
the front door and started limping to the ambulance arriving.
David meanwhile grabbed the two crooks and pulled them together into one
spot, holding them down with a talon each for when the cops arrived. He
didn’t have to wait long.
"Swiftstrike! Did you do this?"
David nodded, looking proud, something that gryphons are very good at.
"You really saved the day, Swiftstrike. Maybe you should go into this
David laughed inwardly at that. But maybe someday...
The next day, the papers blared, "Valkyrie injured in battle; Swiftstrike a
hero!", as David smugly sipped coffee in the morning. He hadn’t heard from
Kristine yet today...and he wasn’t sure he was going to. It would be a
welcome relief at least. Then again...he’d got to spend the rest of the day
taking photos, and playing with children who ADORED him, overwatched by
nervous parents. Maybe it wasn’t ALL bad, being the underestimated
David has some issues with how Kristine treats him at work...
A long overdue Christmas exchange story for an extremely patient person.