Unlike most of my other GMD pastiches/fanfics, this one uses less referencing from the movie itself and more from a trilogy book series called Silverwing, written by Kenneth Oppel. The series itself was all about bats of course, but it treated the world of bats as a culture, with history and a hierarchy. As for the world of Fidget and Deniece, the talk of The Guiding Light is loosely based on Kenneth Oppel's formula. Other inspirations include the Japanese Animes Devil Hunter Yohko and Blue Seed, focusing more on suppressed sexual desires ... and a hidden danger lurking.
|London, England 1898|
|Finnius "Fidget" Holloway||Former pirate, ex-lackey to Professor Ratigan|
|Deniece la Chauve-souris||Bi-racial singer, actress, and nurse|
|Marie Bonaguide (dream only)||Parisian prostitute, Fidget's first love affair|
|Evelyn "Velvet" Nesbit (dream only)||Philadelphia born, Floradora dance girl, Fidget's second love affair|
|Scarlet Webster (dream only)||Welsh prostitute, servant to Llewelyn of Breconshire|
|Selena Lunarias||Black widow, bi-sexual, Fidget's final love affair|
"Haunt me in my dreams, if you please. Your breath is with me now and always. Its like a breeze. So, should you ever doubt me. If it's help that you need, never dare to doubt me."
Around and around, the words whispered to her by her mother circulate like the wheel of a bicycle. Deniece gazed in mesmerized wonder at the large white ball as it shines on her coffee-colored fur. She was oblivious to any sound that echoed. The full moon was all that mattered now.
"And if you want to sleep, I'll be quiet like an angel. As quiet as your soul could be. If you only knew you had a friend like me ..."
The winds of London teased her butter-toned hair. The light of the full moon made her green eyes glow like a cat. And she wore the green dress that her friend, Fidget, once recommended since it went well with her eyes. And her emerald earrings glistened as they hung delicately on her large ears. Deniece placed both her webbed hands on her chest. The light of the moon made her feel so alive! So passionate! She felt a sudden urge to unbutton the back of her collar and loosen the top of her dress. And why not? She was standing on the rooftop, no one would ever notice. Even the Queen Mousetoria could never touch her with her distorted views of women and how women in mousedom society should behave. Deniece was no mouse. She was a genuine female bat ... Tall, lean, and beautiful. And the brilliance of the moon showered her sparkling green dress, making her look like a jewel. And she was of the age of fertility. All that she needed right now ... was a man ...
"Haunt me in my dreams, if you please. Your breath is with me now and always. It's like a breeze ..."
Deniece gasped in fright as a distant voice broke her from her trance. Her green eyes opened. She was not standing on a rooftop, bathing in moonlight. Instead, she was hanging upside down in her room. And that blasted Fidget was the one who woke her up from the best dream she ever had!
Fidget had stared at her with a stupefied expression on his face. "Are you ill or something?"
"No, I'm not ill, you idiot!" Deniece heaved in a flustered manner.
"Hey, dhere's no need to get mad at me!" Fidget raised his wings up in surrender. "You had dis scary grin on your face!"
Deniece's smooth fur and hair became ruffled with rage as she descended to the floor on her feet. She cursed at Fidget for the rude awakening he gave her, throwing any object within sight. Fidget ducked and scurried out of sight. He often forgot how scary Deniece was when awoken from slumber. When there were no more object left, Fidget peeked his head from behind the opened door.
"You know, you're very rude!"
"Well you woke me from my beauty sleep!"
"Yeah, because I came to remind you dat you have to go to Basil's for work!"
"I don't need a reminder!" Deniece reacted. "I have an alarm clock, you know!"
"I don't know why you chose to work for him!" Fidget exclaimed, changing the subject.
"Constable Smith sent me there," Deniece corrected Fidget. "And why would that bother you!?"
"Because I don't like him!"
Deniece crossed her wings in front of her chest and gave Fidget a mischievous grin. "Is it because he found your hat and list which you carelessly dropped?"
Fidget winced. Deniece knew why Fidget and Basil didn't get along with each other. The reasons were all too obvious. Basil was a detective of mousedom society, responsible for finding clues to criminal cases when the police were unable to. And despite a bit of upper-class snobbery Basil displayed from time to time, he was very good at his work. Fidget, on the other hand, was an outlaw of society and had been an outlaw for quite some time. And although Fidget finally found a legitimate job at the Henry & Poole Co. as a tailor and made up with those von Freirherr brothers, it still didn't shake the fact that Fidget once was a criminal of society. Everyone in mousedom was aware of that and even cursed the legal justice system for not having him sent to Newgate for his crimes. At the Henry & Poole Co., the owner often had Fidget work in a room behind the curtain so as not to upset customers (at least until he felt Fidget was ready to have people see him). Fidget hated Basil because the mouse never had to struggle as he did, was well liked without even trying, and got in the way of things he wanted to do, despite the fact that the mouse detective was merely doing his job.
Both Constable Smith and Basil warned Deniece not to be too easy on Fidget, and how Deniece often approached that was rubbing in his face the facts as to why Fidget was in the position he was in to begin with. But this was actually a lot harder on Deniece because she knew he was trying to do better and tonight happened to be a full moon, something her biological mother once referred to as a bat's guiding light. The Eve of the Guiding Light was a night celebrated by women bats because they believed that the moonlight peaked their sexuality. Before a male and female bat would wed, both would approach each other under the moonlight and let their passions take flight. If they were loose in their passions, the two were meant for each other. But if there was resistance, of any kind, then it was never meant to be. Deniece knew who she wanted to let her passions loose on, but was often frustrated because she was torn between her strong affection for Fidget and haunting advice from Constable Smith and Basil. Constable Smith warned Deniece not to confuse love with pity and that she may only be feeling pity for Fidget, even if the bat truly wanted to change. And Basil warned Deniece that getting any closer to Fidget could only result in the ruin of her reputation. The mouse knew Deniece was in good standing with mousedom society, especially if she had friends like the constable and the priest. He didn't want to see a respectable bat like Deniece be dragged back down to the lowlife of society. But Deniece would never compromise her morals and ideals for anybody. That was what made her strong. But Deniece was a woman, not a man. Like any other woman, Deniece had needs of her own. She didn't want to end up like one of those elderly women who never had any children, or couldn't bare children. She wanted a man! All her past lovers had failed her, causing her inexplicable grief ... and they were part of society's circle. Not to mention her reputation as a woman was already ruined anyway the night she was raped ... and that was before she met Fidget. As much as Deniece had wanted to, she could never cast Fidget out of her life. They were friends! Fidget had proven to her that he was capable of change and tried so hard to please her. Sure he was brusque, but he was also very loyal. And Deniece never felt more alive whenever the two fought. But the frustration of advice and passion made her irritable beyond belief. She may have blamed Fidget for waking her up, but her frustrations ran deeper than that.
Deniece expected the argument to continue between Fidget and herself, but Fidget kept his mouth closed after her last comment about Basil finding his hat and list. Fidget knew well not to fight with her or try anything uncalled for ... and sometimes that alone would be enough to irritate Deniece. Sometimes she got tired of winning all the time. As for Fidget, he often got frustrated as to why Deniece reacted so easily to any little misstep he made. There were times Fidget complained to Father Richards, saying that he tried to be patient with Deniece but she would always bother him when he just wanted to be left alone to his thoughts. Not to mention, Deniece always suspected him of slipping back into a life of crime whenever he encountered a mousedom citizen who pestered him just for walking the streets. Fidget was often scared to admit it, but sometimes he got so jealous whenever he saw Deniece make conversation to another man ... even when that man was a mouse. And the fact that she now worked for that Basil of Baker Street made his fur stand on end with rage. Out of all the people she became employed with, why did it have to be him!? He couldn't stand Basil, and not because of the hat and list Fidget carelessly dropped. Basil was just too full of himself! Whenever Fidget ran errands for the Collins couple, Basil occasionally passed by him and told him that Fidget shouldn't strain himself too much ... which was upper class talk for you're too weak to handle anything yourself, someone always has to help you. And when Fidget would sit by himself by the River Thames, once again Basil would pass by and ask Fidget if he was afraid he'd fall again. How it irritated Fidget to no return. If it wasn't for Father Richards's warning about folks pointing a finger at his back, Fidget would've lost control and punched that mouse detective in the teeth. But Fidget knew better than to cross the line. He had come this far in life to stop. Many opportunities were opened to him that he never knew existed. And despite an occasional disgruntled mouse pointing a finger at his back from time to time, he enjoyed being outdoors for fresh air. And as much as Deniece drove him nuts, it was ironically the very thing he admired about her. He knew everything she did was all out of love. Fidget would be jealous of her at times, yet he wanted to be like her. She was very skilled and talented, it often inspired him to do his best. If it wasn't for Deniece's tough exterior, he probably wouldn't have made it this far at all.
"Which dress are you gonna wear tonight?" Fidget began, changing the subject.
"I'm not sure," Deniece replied, slowly regaining her composure. "I have a deep blue dress and sapphire earrings."
"Which case will you be workin' on tonight?"
Deniece sighed. "I won't know until I go to Basil's house."
"Well, I'm done with work for da night," Fidget told her. "May I stay here at least until you return? I could help clean up."
"Did you see if your foster parents needed any help?"
"I already did my chores dhere," Fidget replied. "I told dhem I would be here."
"I don't think I need any help tonight," Deniece informed him. "I think you should return to the Collins's house. They still might need help with something."
Fidget sighed. Sometimes, he felt like Deniece talked in circles. He already finished his chores there and asked his foster parents if they needed help; they told him they didn't. Without another word, Fidget turned around to open the door ... but not before Deniece had one final thing left to say.
"If I need assistance, Fidget, I will let you know. Don't worry about me."
"Haunt me in my dreams, if you please. Your breath is with me now and always. It's like a breeze ..."
The giant white globe lit the night sky and shined upon the fur of four female bats. One had cream-colored fur, blue eyes, orange hair, and wore a pink dress. She had a smug expression on her face and cocked her hip. The second female had copper-toned curly hair, gray fur, a red dress, and wore a flower wreath. She seemed to be the most innocent looking by far, her gentle black eyes gazing up at the moon and her mouth a neutral line. The third bat was dark-haired, white furred, and pink eyes. Her innocence almost matched that of the second female bat, except she held a knife in one of her webbed hands. And the fourth female was tall and the most sinister looking of them all. Her red-pink eyes and dark hair matched that of the third, but her hair was shorter and her eyes were filled with evil. She wore a red shirt, black pants, a cream-colored English hat, and her lips were painted a blood-red.
Fidget awoke to the sound of voices calling his name. When he observed his surroundings, he found himself on a roof-top. And not too far from him, he spotted the four female bats. And they were staring straight at him. The first to approach him was the cream-colored one in the pink dress. "J'em appelle Marie Bonaguide," she whispered. With the cock of her head, she showed off her crescent moon-shaped earrings. "Where is my expensive gift?"
"I'm Evelyn Nesbit," said the second female. Her once innocent expression turned into that of one mixed with sorrow and rage. "You've got me pregnant! Why didn't you stay with me!?"
"I am Scarlet Webster," said the third. As with Evelyn, her innocent expression also changed. "Once I was a viewed as a gentle little girl ... until my first killing."
"And I ..." began the fourth one. Her accent was a mixture of Swedish and Italian, " ... am Selena Lunarias. You used to remind me of ... someone ..."
Suddenly, Fidget found himself back in his bedroom at the Collins household. Was he dreaming!? What just happened!? Fidget got out of bed to look outside the window. Although it was night, the sidewalks were bathed in a strong, white light. His foster parents were asleep at this hour, of course. He decided to crawl out the window and look up at the sky. As he anticipated, there was a big, full moon out tonight. He didn't spot any female bats lurking around. He spotted only a couple of dark figures walking on the opposite side. Fidget hid himself in the shadows so as not to be seen, which was almost hard to find with the light of the moon. The last thing he wanted to do was to attract attention to himself. What if Constable Smith had seen him? Once the mice passed by without response, Fidget made his way back on the sidewalk. Then the light of the moon began to pierce through his fur and into the pores of his skin underneath. Fidget slowly lifted his head up to look at the full moon. His eyes squinted, slowly adjusting to the light that begged for attention to its master. Like the brightness sun is stimulation to the mice of mousedom during the daytime, the full moon at night worked the same way in the world of bats. Suddenly Fidget found himself walk slowly toward the direction of the moon, as if hoping to reach it. In his mind, he thought he should go back to the Collins's house and back to bed. But Fidget began having a wet feeling between his legs that he couldn't explain. There were no women around, yet such bestial feelings and urges began to take control over him. That warm feeling that seeped into the pores of his skin, making him feel all wet. That glow upon his gray fur, making it appear almost silver and shimmering. And Fidget happened to be shirtless. Those scars that dressed his chest and back were exposed, yet he remained ignorant of this. And why? Because he had been bathed in the full moon's light.
"Wait a minute!" Fidget called out, almost loudly. "What am I doing!?" The peg-legged bat closed his eyes tightly, so as not to look directly at the moon. Fidget turned away, this time his back facing the moon. The bat's eyes opened for a brief moment and darted back and forth to make sure no one was watching. He scurried back to the Collins household without a second to lose.
Once he returned to the window and climbed back in, Fidget did not hesitate to draw the curtains. He panted for breath, his mind nearly becoming undone as he pondered over what came over him. The last time he remembered ever feeling so promiscuous under a full moon was when he had encountered those four lady bats during his time on The Bloody Rose. The first time it happened, he was with Marie Bonaguide. He was naive and somewhat intimidated by women, yet it was a full moon and he felt unusually promiscuous. And with the other three prostitutes, it was the same thing. A full moon, shining brightly and his fantasies took on a life of their own. Fidget did not want to be tempted by the moonlight again. He couldn't do this to Deniece. He had tried so hard to be a better citizen, but it often felt like torture. Fidget knew he did not want to go back to piracy, or any organized crime ever again. He knew this because all he could ever think of was Deniece. She was the only woman bat in the world of strong character. Those other lady bats were pretty, but they couldn't hold a candle to Deniece. She taught him peace and friendship. And she taught him liberation. Fidget once thought he had already lived a liberating life among the criminal society, but deep down he knew this was not true liberation. Fidget was practically a slave to his criminal masters. Captain Lillian Bates simply hated him because he was a male, he could always feel it. When Fidget was eight years old and brought upon that ship for the first time, he was extremely terrified. When that woman captain held out her webbed hand to grab his face, he almost bit it. And then there was that horrible test she made him take with a noose. The poor boy was almost strangled to death; Captain Bates was testing his endurance to pain. It was a way to teach Fidget to get himself out of dangerous situations, according to her. And before the encounter of the von Freirherr couple, Fidget was made to take a life. At that moment, he began to remember the heretic priests he had taken his vengeance on for murdering his parents. And this brought the little boy to tears. He did not want to take another life ... but Captain Bates told him to stop crying and just do it. Each time he hesitated to carry out his captain's orders, he was scolded or punished for it, sometimes in a very embarrassing way (he didn't want to think about the details). That was why it took so long for him to get his full memory back. Every time he tried to remember something, either Captain Lillian Bates or the other Nightwing pirates ruined it.
But Deniece was different. She did slam the door on his face once, but that was an accident. Other times, Deniece did lash out in rage, but it was never out of malice and she always had that guilty look on her face, as if she was sorry for doing it. Deniece never tried to change Fidget at all. She let him be himself, even when he behaved badly. The friends she had introduced him to allowed him to be himself too. And Father Richards strongly encouraged him to think for himself. If it wasn't for Deniece, Fidget would've never had the chance to live a better life ... and he was deeply grateful for it. But sometimes Fidget feared that because he lived among criminals too long, his weakness would get the better of him. What if he were to run into any of those lady bats again? Would he be able to say no? Or would his promiscuity entice him too much to satisfy a craving? Fidget shuddered.
"I must be feeling under the weather," Deniece muttered to herself as she hung up her coat and scarf. She had returned from Basil's flat, muddling over the details of Agatha Marblestone's disappearance, only to get a sickly feeling in her stomach. Was it Professor Ratigan's henchman at large? It didn't seem like it. Deniece would've known if it was. She remembered the unfortunate night of running into them when she and Fidget had that argument. She was horribly wounded and would've bled to death had it not been for Dr. Hemingway's healing hands and Constable Smith's street savvy. Not to mention her friend Fidget had used unbelievable strength to fight those ruffians off. She overheard them call Fidget a traitor for protecting her. In reality, Deniece was rather embarrassed that she had to be rescued. She was bred both by her biological and foster parents to be a proper lady, to be kind and affectionate so as to inspire a man to do his best. But what her parents taught her and how the street life was two different things. Street life taught her to be more self-sufficient. A woman's beauty, no matter how virtuous, made her a target if she wasn't careful. And she had to be strong and learn how to defend herself. To do otherwise would've resulted in the same fate as her friend, Raisa Dalton, among many other helpless virgins. Deniece was a virgin once and would've already been happily married had it not been for those criminals who raped her. Any man she came in contact with evaded her, knowing that her body had been tainted. And it was around the same time The Mousedemonium Theatre closed down and she was demoted to a job at The Rat Trap. The men she had entertained wanted to make her their sex slave, but she would not have it! She had too much dignity to succumb, despite what others believed. And through unusually odd circumstances, a certain peg-legged bat entered her life. But Fidget ... was not like anyone else she had met. Deniece always felt ... safe with him, and it was all too confusing. If Constable Smith and Basil both advised against being anywhere near Fidget, why did she feel an ache when he wasn't around?
"I need some rest," Deniece said, breathing heavily from exhaustion. "I'm so ... tired ..."
(*two knocks followed*) "Niecy?"
Deniece's fur ruffled with agitation. Why on earth was she being bothered before going to sleep!?
(*two more knocks*) "Niecy? I know you can hear me!"
"Fidget, this is not the time right now!" Deniece called. "I'm tired!"
The knocking did not stop. Fidget was on the other side and he would not leave until he saw her. Deniece cried out in frustration as she stomped her way to the door to open it.
"I told you this was not the time!" Deniece reacted. "I've had a long night!"
"I can see dat!" said Fidget, noticing Deniece was looking pale in the face. "I ... just wanted to see you!"
"I'm afraid I'm in no mood to entertain, Fidget," Deniece replied. "We haven't figured out where Agatha Marblestone has disappeared to. Basil suspects kidnapping, but everyone in her circle appeared oblivious."
"Niecy, if you're not well, dhen you shouldn't be alone."
"And since when do you give the orders here!?" Deniece retorted. "This is my house!"
"I still t'ink I should stay with you."
Did this bat not hear a single word she just said!? "I'm-not-in-the-mood! Please leave!"
"Niecy, I don't know what's happenin'!" Fidget spoke directly to her. It wasn't that Fidget did not hear her request. And he didn't come for the sake of harassing her. Fidget couldn't help but feel that something strange was going on. He could tell Deniece had been unusually flustered, and he couldn't get over what happened when the moon's light shone on him. "But I'm not leavin!"
"Fidget, you're really starting to annoy me!" Deniece seethed through her teeth. "Leave at once!"
All of a sudden, Deniece fell to her knees and her body shook uncontrollably. Her green eyes rolled back before she fainted on the floor. The last thing she heard was Fidget calling her name ...
"Ohhh ... my head ..."
Deniece woke up to a pair of webbed hands cupped against the back of her head. She felt one thumb kneading her temple while the other hand held a wet rag to her forehead. Deniece's body never left the floor, she could tell from the texture of the wooden floor against her back. But both her head and feet were slightly elevated with pillows.
"What happened?" Deniece groaned.
"You burned yourself out," the sound of Fidget's voice said to her. "Like I've done ..."
"Fidget, why are you still here?" Deniece uttered, slightly annoyed but feeling too exhausted to throw him out.
"Because you fainted," Fidget replied, almost nonchalantly. "And you need someone right now."
Deniece rolled her green eyes as she lifted herself in sitting position. "Since when did you get so wise all of a sudden?"
Fidget did not answer, but turned his head away to look out the window. All the curtains were closed, Fidget drew a sigh of relief. "Niecy, have you been feelin' ... strange lately?"
Deniece blinked her eyes curiously. "Fidget, I assure you that I'm alright. I was just ... exhausted, that 's all."
"Dat's not what I'm talkin' about," said Fidget. "I mean have t'ings been happenin' to you lately?"
Deniece shook her head in a confused manner. "Fidget, what are you talking about?"
"Da moon, Niecy!" Fidget reacted, pointing at the closed windows covered in curtains. "Has da moon made you feel strange?"
Deniece's green eyes shrunk in surprise. "Wait a minute! How did you know about ...?" Her voice trailed off before she could finish her sentence. Didn't he know? Deniece thought all bats knew about the Eve of the Guiding Light. She knew at least because it was her biological mother who told her. It was the talk among female bats, but even male bats were familiar with the ceremony. And as the light of the moon produced a certain reaction from the females, so did the males experience heightened sexuality. But was Fidget ever properly informed about it? Judging by his improperly invited entrance to her house and the worried expression on his face made her doubt it. Deniece decided she should be the first one to break the silence.
"It's the Eve of the Guiding Light, Fidget," she said. "Didn't you know?"
Fidget's yellow eyes blinked in confusion. He did not know, Deniece could see that now. It would've explained why he thought she was ill. "I suppose you've been feeling wet down there, haven't you?"
Fidget's jaw dropped seconds before he froze. How did she know!? He hadn't told her anything yet!
"Fidget, I'm not ill," Deniece continued with a chuckle. "But yes, you're right ... I do need someone right now. Follow me to the parlor, and we'll talk."
"Così, quel ragazzo vive ancora , eh?"
A soft voice spoke from the rooftop above. It's owner was a lady bat wrapped in a dark gray cloak. The shadow of her hood covered most of her face, but her red-pink eyes were still visible. She pulled back her hood for a brief moment to allow the moon to shine down on her face. Her short, dark brown hair which was almost as black as the night sky, the wind teased each soft strand as if to get her attention. Her fur was the color of the full moon, and her lips looked like they were painted with blood. Her dark gray ears starkly contrasted with her white fur so much that one would think she was a princess from a fairy tale. But one only had to look at this woman bat's reputation to realize that she was no innocent flower ... for this woman was none other than the infamous black widow killer, Selena Lunarias. Her real name was Isabella Santino and she was the niece of Bruto Santino, a bat who worked under the title of sea-farer, but in reality was a member of the Sicilian mob back in Italy. While her uncle engaged in professional killing, Selena did it for the thrill. She had adapted the name Selena Lunarias as a means to entice men to her room. Those who were enticed by her beauty never came back alive ... except one. And this one happened to be none other than Fidget himself.
"I'm surprised that boy survived his injuries," Selena whispered to herself. "His character is stronger than I gave him credit for. Vorrei poter vedere lui ... ancora una volta ."
"All dis time, I t'ought I was goin' mad ... It was because of da full moon?"
Deniece nodded, noticing Fidget's large ears lowering stupidly. "The legends go like this," she began to explain. "Whenever there is a full moon out, like tonight, it becomes a calling to all bat-kind. It comes out every June, and bats would often fly to rooftops to gaze upon it. It is often said the moon is used as our guiding light, so when bats in flight ever lost their way, the presence of the full moon would always bring them back home safely. And bat families would often bring their children out to play."
Fidget cocked his head sideways in a curious manner. He remembered being extra playful with his mother's ball of purple yarn whenever the light of the moon shone through their window. But he would have never associated his playfulness with the moon.
"Anyway," Deniece continued, "my biological mother was Moroccan born and there was a ceremonial event in her tribe called The Eve of the Guiding Light. According to her, both male and female bats who were bathed by the full moon's light experience certain changes in their bodies. For the ladies coming of age, being bathed in the light symbolizes that they are fertile. They begin to notice their own bodies for the first time, and will often allow their own webbed hands to travel upon their fur. For the men, they experience heightened bestial carnage and would let their passions loose on the first woman they see. And both sexes often experienced feeling wet."
Let their passions loose!? Getting wet!? Fidget's face began to turn red, he covered it with his own webbed hands. But Deniece wasn't finished yet.
"And when a couple wanted to wed, the full moon was used to put their sense of devotion to the test. If they let their passions loose on each other, their devotion to each other was true and should marry. But, if there was resistance of any kind, their love was false and should never marry."
Fidget scratched the back of his head in puzzlement. "Were udhers watchin'?"
Deniece nodded. "That's what I meant by they were tested."
"But, wouldn't dhere be resistance if dhey knew udher folks were watchin'?"
Deniece heaved a sigh of annoyance. "That was not the point, Fidget."
"Well I don't understand why udhers need to watch a couple ... let dheir passions loose, as you say. Isn't dat for behind closed doors?"
Deniece's fur began to ruffle in frustration. "It's a symbol, Fidget!" she said tersely.
"I don't believe in symbols, Niecy!"
"You're an idiot!"
"You know, I bust my ass every night! I work a job, I help out my foster parents, I go to Father Richards's to listen to more borin' lectures, and you ever do is yell at me and call me names!"
"Well I'm workin' with Basil's schedule to figure out this case, plus I have to clean this whole house by myself, cook dinner, tolerate Constable Smith's fatherly advice, avoid gettin' myself into danger--!"
"But put yourself into danger when you work with Basil!" Fidget interrupted. "What's da difference!?"
"I could lose this house if I don't support myself, Fidget!?" Deniece reacted. "I'd be forced to live in the streets again, and I don't want to go back!"
"How could I be of service to you, Niecy!?"
The two bats came at a stand-still in their bickering. Deniece rubbed her temples to soothe the throbbing headache, feeling frustrated with all the changes happening at once. Fidget covered his face in shame, feeling like a complete failure. Suddenly, he began to hear weeping ... and it was coming from Deniece. Fidget slowly approached the lady bat, placed a webbed hand on her shoulder and stroked it with her thumb. He spoke to Deniece in a gentle whisper. "How can I make t'ings up to you, Niecy?"
Deniece had covered her face with her hands, masking a waterfall of tears that were streaming down her face. When she was able to look Fidget in the face, the male bat was the first to wrap his wings around her in an embrace. Deniece wrapped her wings around him in return. "I ... don't want to ... lose you, Fidget."
"Just tell me what you want me to do, Niecy," Fidget whispered. "I'll do anyt'ing ... Anyt'ing ..."
The sound of Fidget's raspy voice spoken in a whisper made Deniece feel warm and safe. And his embrace felt so right, in spite of what Basil and Constable Smith had advised. The peg-legged bat wasn't asking for pity, no would Deniece ever describe the feelings she felt as those of pity. Everything just felt so right with Fidget, she just couldn't help herself. "I ... do have something to ask of you," she finally answered, drying her green eyes.
"What is it?"
"I ... know you don't like the mention of Basil's name," Deniece began, "but I am having trouble figuring out some things on this case. I'm not supposed to discuss the details to anyone, but it's hard for me not to talk out my findings. And I can't discuss certain things with Basil, he wouldn't understand."
Fidget heaved a deep sigh. "You want me to go to Basil's with you? I don't t'ink he'd like it if he saw my face."
"No, I wouldn't dream of asking that." Deniece shook her head. "There are just some things involved in this case that mice wouldn't understand."
"Oh," Fidget responded with a nod.
Deniece stretched her wings out and yawned, "But first, I need to take a bath. All this case work is making my body feel as if it's been at war." She rose to her feet and motioned her right arm for Fidget to follow her.
"Now where did that boy go?"
Selena had hopped off the rooftop and soared the night skies in search of the peg-legged bat she had once seduced. The night wind teased her cloak while her red-pink eyes scouted the grounds looking for any sign of a gray furred bat that hobbled when he walked. Was this bat's wing still crippled, Selena wondered? She had imagined so since his injuries were very severe, and there was not a doctor's flat in sight. If that was the case, it would give Selena plenty of advantage to do away with him for good. As long as that boy still lived, he would be a thorn in her side. And since her seductive ways have served her well in the past, they should still serve her well today.
"Don't think your little desires went unnoticed, boy," Selena whispered, chuckling at the sound of her own voice. "I watched while you were bathed in the full moon's light. I still know what pleases men ..."
"Obviously, there were no signs of a struggle where Baroness Marblestone dwelled. Speculation says she was kidnapped from her room, but there would've been signs of a struggle if that was the case."
Deniece flustered over her current situation in the bathtub, Fidget sat behind her. She allowed the peg-legged bat to massage her neck, shoulders, and back, but ordered him not to go any further. At first, she fought against the idea, insisting she was just fine. But she had been suppressing the urge for so long that she felt too exhausted to fight. And the touch of Fidget's hands just felt ... so right. How could something coming from a so-called outlaw of society feel so right to a creature of her standing? She had asked this question many times and it was still never enough, in spite of what Constable Smith and Basil had advised her. Deniece half-expected Fidget to disregard her specific demands since she remembered their outing in the picnic when he had touched her hair without her consent. Surprisingly, this outlaw bat remained faithful to his word. She wanted to ask how, but the missing pieces of the Agatha Marblestone case were too much of a higher priority at the moment.
"She didn't just walk out?"
Deniece rolled her eyes in response to Fidget's last comment. What kind of question was that!? "She's a Baroness, Fidget. She would never leave a place without properly informing her guests about it."
"So how did she disappear?"
"Fidget, are you even listening to me?"
Fidget did not answer but sighed heavily. He had only partially listened, since he was preoccupied by the strange dream he had and his strange reaction toward the moonlight. Four lady bats he saw in his dream, and they happened to be existing bats. Fidget knew nothing of their whereabouts, but somehow he felt they were all still alive and well. And they were on the hunt for him. He didn't want to deal with any of them, and hoped he would never have to. But Fidget still couldn't get over the idea that someone may have been watching him while the light of the full moon bathed him. And as his right hand caressed her back, his yellow eyes were fixed on Deniece's right thigh. As her sighs of relief to his touch made Fidget feel at ease, he desperately wanted to allow his hand to caress her thigh. But Deniece demanded that Fidget only touch her in certain areas and no further. So Fidget strongly resisted the urge, despite the fact that it was harder for him. "I'm sorry ..." he whispered. "Go on ..."
"I ... can't remember what I was going to say ..."
Deniece knew what was bothering Fidget. It was the Eve of the Guiding Light and the moon's light peaked through the window, shining on both bats. And the gray bat's touch was so soothing that it almost made her fall asleep. Why she demanded that Fidget not make any further advances on her, she had soon forgotten. She could hear Fidget breathing heavily behind her. She knew he wanted to ... Why was he hesitating?
"Fidget," she began to whisper. "You can ... if you want to ..."
Fidget's eyes blinked. He had been paying attention that time. "Aren't ... we supposed ... to be married, first?"
Married, yes ... Deniece definitely wanted to be married first ... But she had lived in solitude for too long, and she could no longer bare it.
"I don't mind, Fidget," she replied, her tone was now seductive. "I'm yours ... You have ... my consent ..."
Fidget could feel a sense of relief in his, as if another link of the chain in his life had been unbound. Deniece had just given him consent ... As the legends of the guiding light implied, the two bats had let their passions loose on each other.
Selena Lunarias suddenly stopped abruptly in mid-flight as if a bullet had hit her. She was able to perform a twist just before landing on her feet, but she dropped into a sitting position on the sidewalk like a mannequin and clasped her chest with her webbed hand. She couldn't tell what had just happened, but some unusual feeling came over her. And she suspected that something happened with that boy she was searching for.
"It cannot be," she uttered in a whisper. "Has he ... been touched ... by another woman?"
Selena ran her webbed fingers through her dark hair. Why did she feel a sudden sharp pain in her chest. She wasn't ill, she knew that much. She felt perfectly healthy the whole time she watched that boy. So what could've caused that sudden pain? Selena's once neutral expression had turned into anger.
"If that boy is with another woman, I swear I will kill them both!"
Now Selena Lunarias didn't really care for the gray-furred bat she seduced. She had only seduced him to get back at Captain Lillian Bates for killing her uncle. But Selena prided herself in her reputation of unbound seduction, poisonous cunning, and merciless bloodshed. Since she was nine-years-old, she had cleverly evaded attention toward herself in regards to her killings. And she also evaded the clutches of cops. Never once had she been thrown in any jail or prison for her crimes. Why was that? Because none of her victims ever lived to tell the tale. Unfortunately, she had made one mistake and this one happened to be vital. Her mistake was in letting that gray-furred bat go. She once thought that he surely would've died from his injuries, that boy was not a very strong bat. But he lived, which could only mean one thing ... He would tell others of her existence. And if another woman were to find this boy and seduce him, they would have children. Selena's services would no longer be needed.
"I never thought I'd live to see this night ... The two of us ... Together ..."
Deniece lay close to the right side of the bed and Fidget lay close behind her. Both bats were in the nude with only the blanket modestly exposing the lower halves of their bodies. Their webbed hands were locked together in a strong bond; Deniece could tell that Fidget did not want to let go. A woman of her standing never had to ask when a man's hold on her is sincere.
"Aren't you glad dis annoyance didn't leave when you asked?" Fidget whispered.
Deniece smiled and slapped his head in a playful way. "You're bad!"
Fidget giggled childishly. "Why? Because I told you so?"
Deniece chuckled. "I still think you're an idiot."
"Well dis idiot's not goin' anywhere," Fidget uttered playfully.
The lady bat flipped a lock of butter-toned hair with her free webbed hand. "So, how has business been at Henry & Poole's?"
"We've had t'ree customers per day," Fidget began. "Da first day, two were grooms lookin' to get dheir weddin' suits altered, da third was a lady whose dress was torn and needed it fixed."
"Is it hard working behind closed curtains?" Deniece asked. "Albert told me the owner is making you work behind the curtains."
Fidget chuckled sheepishly. "Well, I'm not in a hurry to be noticed."
"Still, I imagine your customers are will get curious to know who's tailoring their clothes. It would look rather odd with the shop owner by himself at the cash register, having the finished clothing in hand, and not be seen doing any of the work."
"Dhere are two udhers workin' at da shop, Niecy," Fidget told her. "It's not just me."
"Oh," Deniece replied with a nod of her head.
"Victor Poole is gettin' old," Fidget continued. "He'll need someone to take over da shop once he's gone."
"So, you will be noticed eventually," Deniece confirmed. "What do you intend to do when that day comes?"
I'm hoping not to be noticed was what Fidget wanted to say, but he remained silent. Fidget learned that in order to succeed in this world, one had to be a forward-thinker, always making plans for the future. But all the work he put in between the shop, his studies, house chores, and errands the Collins wanted him to do proved to be exhausting. He didn't want to think about work for the time being. For the moment Fidget just wanted to enjoy Deniece's company.
"Fidget, are you asleep?"
Fidget shook his head. Deniece was still expecting an answer; he had hoped he wouldn't have to. "When dat day comes, you say? Well ... we could have more of dhose outings we used to have before I went to Pentonville."
"You mean another picnic at St. James Park?" Deniece replied.
Fidget nodded. "I wouldn't have to worry about bein' in public anymore. We won't have to be cooped up behind closed doors."
I wouldn't have to worry how other men react to me either, Deniece thought with a sigh of relief. She still remembered that one night on the bridge by River Thames. Raisa "Lacey" Dalton walked with her that night, Deniece insisted on heading home by herself since her house wasn't too far. She recalled wishing with all her heart that there would be one creature like her left in the world who understood her. That's when she witnessed Fidget fall from Professor Ratigan's dirigible. It would've been a fall to his death had she not flew by to rescue him. Deniece originally intended to nurse him to health only to send him on his way to wherever he came from. But she had lost her only friend and her world had changed forever. Only Fidget was there with her. She had asked him to leave many times, but he insisted on being with her. She often resisted the whole time, uncompromising of her morale, telling herself that he was a stranger and knew nothing of his past. Deniece would never allow herself to be a victim of lowlife ... Ever!
But now ... Deniece couldn't bare another moment not having Fidget by her side. She had ached for him so much when he was in Pentonville. The two bats often drove each other crazy, but in the end they realized that they needed each other. There was no other way around it. And Deniece saw opportunity when Fidget was with her while she bathed both in warm, soap water and full moonlight. She had given Fidget consent to let his hand go wherever they pleased, Fidget obliged. Then she noticed how tense Fidget's body look and enticed him to join her in the bath. When the two bats had made love, it was as if the chains of the world had been broken. Their bodies were merged as one, the moonlight made their fur glisten, and the water cleansed them of their fears. Deniece remembered how ashamed she was of her own body, ever since the night she was raped. She put on a tough, almost cold front to the world so that no one would notice that it bothered her. But it had always hurt her deeply. Men she adored would avoid her, thinking she was filthy and unfit to be a bride while men who were attracted to her were men she despised. But how this peg-legged bat made her feel now ... It was as if she found her womanhood once again.
Suddenly, a fresh flow of tears streamed down Deniece's face and she began to sob uncontrollably.
"Niecy!?" Fidget panicked, noticing Deniece's body trembling as she sobbed. "What did I do?"
"No, it's not your fault," Deniece replied. "I ... just didn't realize ... how I've felt ... trapped all these years."
At first, Fidget was confused by this ... But then he remembered the evening they went to Westminster Abbey and he met Father Richards for the first time. It was Father Richards who told Fidget that Deniece had been raped a long time ago and how much damage it did to Deniece's life. Fidget knew it bothered her still, which was why she often got flustered so easily.
"You don't have to be ashamed of it, Niecy," Fidget whispered as he wrapped his wings around Deniece's waist. "You're not filthy. You're pure."
"I ... can't help it, Fidget," Deniece uttered, drying her eyes. "I cannot express ... how grateful I am to you ... for releasing me. I never realized ... how much I've ... imprisoned myself here."
"We were both prisoners, Niecy," Fidget replied, almost sternly. "But together ... we're strong. We can break any chains dat bind us, Niecy."
A giggle escaped Deniece's throat, and she forgot about the tears in her eyes. "We already have, Fidget. It was our guiding light that freed us."
Fidget smiled at the thought, but he wasn't ready to say that the guiding light had freed them just yet. He never forgot Father Richards's warning about the possibility that demons of the past may come to drag him back to a life of crime. Fidget's encounter with the von Freirherr brothers was proof enough that Father Richards's advice was not to be ignored. And although Fidget had made peace with the von Freirherr brothers, he knew that wasn't the end of it. More was soon to come; that strange dream Fidget had was not just a dream. It was a warning. The peg-legged bat had to be prepared for when that time would come. But Fidget was now content that he no longer had to worry about the questionability of his loyalty toward Deniece. He didn't have to worry about being overcome by weakness of the flesh. Deniece was the only woman he wanted to be with, nothing could ever change that.
"Yes, love?" Deniece whispered as she rose herself to a seated position and put on a bathrobe.
"I'm ... not a poet. I've never been good with words, but ... I want to make a pledge with you."
Fidget sat up and got dressed in the red sweater Deniece made for him and some black pants. He waited until Deniece turned to face him before he began to speak. "From now on," he began as he held Deniece's webbed hands firmly, "I pledge to give ... my services to you. I will be ... your pillar of strength. And I ... will protect you from anyone ... who dares to harm you."
"And I," Deniece replied, her expression serene, "will be your light ... in this world of darkness. When chaos arises, I will ... put your mind at ease. And we ... should always be open and honest with each other."
"So if any little t'ing bothers us ..."
"... We must work together ..."
And as the two bats made their pledge of loyalty to each other, they wrapped their wings around each other in a strong embrace. Fidget and Deniece were like comrades in arms that night. Nothing could ever stand between them.
"So ... that Fidget has found another woman ..."
Selena Lunarias hid in the shadows, just outside the Collins household. She had overheard Anna tell her husband that Fidget was staying at Deniece's house on Addington Street. Although she wasn't familiar with that street name, Selena suspected that it wasn't far at all. She knew that boy's methods too well. He would only go to places that were familiar or in close quarters. He was the bat who didn't like to be alone. At first, she had planned to kill Fidget and his new woman on the spot the moment she would lay eyes on them. But now ... she had a better idea.
"Why kill them right away?" Selena whispered with a chuckle. "It would be too quick, and that wouldn't be any fun. After all ..." Selena paused in her thoughts, only to pull out a piece of red cloth from her pocket, "... I kidnapped that Marblestone woman because I was bored."
Selena leaned against the wall in deep thought. Baroness Marblestone was hidden in her lair on the top shelf inside the old Toy Store. The mouse's mouth was gagged and her hands and feet were bound. Selena wanted to kill her on the spot, but somehow she was not in the mood. Besides, Selena wanted to have some fun in her killings. What good would it do to kill a baroness if the thrill was not there? Suddenly, a sickly smile flickered on Selena's face.
"What a thrill it would to have all three prisoners in one setting," she uttered, her soft and silky voice sounding goblin-esque. "If I can't win over his body, I can make him suffer in front of his new lady. I can make their suffering last longer and more painfully. It will be like old times ... once again ..."
A loud, maniacal laugh escaped Selena's throat as she flew away into the night.
To be continued ...
* All properties of Fidget & The Great Mouse Detective are copyright 1986 by Walt Disney Productions. *All characters in The Fidget Connections are copyright 2002-2016 by Reyelene. *All songs in The Fidget Gramophone are copyrights of the artists stated.
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