Sunday, January 3rd, 2016 03:13 pm
Title: Fic: Five Ridiculous Things That Never Happened to Nancy Whitehead (and one awesome thing that did)

Characters/Pairing: Doreen Green/Nancy Whitehead, Ken Shiga, Otto Octavius, Mew, Tippy-Toe

Fandom/Universe: Squirrel Girl

Rating: Teen

Word count: 4500

Written for:DoreyG for Yuletide 2015

Notes: Thanks to [personal profile] st_aurafina for the beta and to The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl for being my favourite comic this year

Summary:

Nancy and Doreen scientifically demonstrate that their universe is the best possible universe. Though that other universe over there isn't bad. Actually, the one with all the cats is pretty good too.



1. Wings

"So, what's up with your butt?" Nancy asked her new roomie, Doreen Green.

"Uh, it's super amazing?"

Nancy raised an eyebrow. Sure, people could wiggle their butts, but not one cheek at a time with fur sticking out the top of their leggings until they hastily hid it with a peplum jacket.

"Soooooo, you like cats?" Doreen might be blindingly obvious in her choice of distractions, but she was also unerringly accurate. Nancy vowed to leave the butt-check until later. Who cared about dubious bodily parts when cats were on the agenda?

"So, Nancy, what's up with your butt?" Doreen asked, mere minutes later.

"Nothing! It's the bottom of my scoliosis brace!"

"Okay, but why does it have feathers on it?"

Nancy sighed. "Damn! I thought I'd be able to keep my secrets at least until midterms, when my cool roommate and I would have a bonding session over last-minute deadlines and reveal all."

"I'm a cool roommate?" Doreen sounded delighted.

"No! That was my fantasy world, please keep up. You're the characteristics-yet-to-be-determined roommate who's already breached my Fortress of Solitude in the first hour. I haven't even got my posters up yet!"

"Should I be sorry?" Doreen bit her lip, but Nancy wasn't sure if she was actually apologetic or if that was her overbite.

"Yet to be determined. Now show me your butt."

"Sure! If you mean…my awesome tail!" Doreen spun around and flicked out what was, admittedly, a pretty awesome squirrel tail.

Unfortunately, it was also shiny and wiggly and that was too much for Mew, who immediately pounced. Five minutes of screaming and chasing later, Nancy managed to get everyone settled down.

"Ow," Doreen said, nursing her tail sadly. "Mew is a great cat but she's got to work on that prey drive."

"Yeah, I know," Nancy agreed. "She's still not 100% on these." She unzipped her jacket, revealing the brace that she wore for comfort when dressed in regular clothes, unbuckled it and revealed her wings. They were a glossy dark brown, sweeping to sharp points at the ends.

"Wow!" Doreen promptly sat on her hands rather than reach out and touch them. Nancy appreciated her restraint: most people were very grabby. "Wow, those are beautiful. Can you fly?"

"Yeah, but what you said about Mew's prey drive? These are hawk wings and it's really hard not to swoop down and grab little moving things. Like pigeons, or dogs, or babies. Or squirrels."

Doreen stood up and put her hands on Nancy's shoulders. "Nancy, I am so glad that we're roomies. We've probably averted an entire alternate universe where we're nemeses."

Nancy laughed. "You never know. I might like to be a nemesis. But maybe not yours. If you want, I'll take you flying later, and you can tell all the squirrels to stay out of my way. It's not like I want to catch one."



2. Roomie

Nancy dragged her suitcase with the hidden cat compartment through the halls. She'd applied for gender neutral housing. Nancy hated categorisation.

She found her assigned room, knocked and went in. A short Asian guy was there already.

Nancy cleared her throat. "Hi! You're my roomie? Or a weird burglar who brings things rather than taking them, I guess that's possible, too. I'm Nancy Whitehead."

"Hi! I'm Ken Shiga. Roomie, not burglar." He was putting up a poster of a beautiful Japanese-style garden on the wall, complete with koi pond in the foreground. "I hope you don't mind my poster. Some people go really funny about fish."

"I've got no problems with fish, or any kind of animal really. As long as we can all acknowledge the ultimate supremacy of cats."

"Ah ha ha ha," Ken laughed nervously.

Nancy eyed him suspiciously. "You don't like cats?"

"I'm a bit scared of them, to be completely honest. They…stare at me like I'm dinner. For no reason at all, of course, no reason!"

Before Nancy could break the bad news to him that he was roomies with a cat, someone knocked on the door.

"Come in!" they chorused.

It was a very handsome guy with particularly nice legs. Nancy noticed legs.

"Hi, I'm Ken's friend Tomas. Nice to meet you!" He and Nancy shook hands. "But I've got to steal Ken away. Because of the thing. You know, Ken, the thing?"

"Oh! Oh yeah, the thing. See you later, Nancy." He grabbed his backpack and hurried off with Tomas.

Well, that was weird. Still, Nancy appreciated the opportunity to unpack in peace and let Mew investigate her new home. Mew was instantly fascinated by Ken's bed and all his belongings, sniffing and pawing at his bedcovers and pillow.

"Rude, Mew. Your bed is over here with me, okay?"

Mew ignored her, but eventually left Ken's side of the room alone and sat on the windowsill to wash. She was still sitting there in a delightful sunbeam when Ken returned.

"A cat!" He pointed at Mew in some alarm.

"That's Mew. She's sharing the room with us."

He looked genuinely frightened. "I can't share with a cat!"

Nancy was about to dismiss his worries when she glanced at Mew. Mew, who normally showed little interest in anyone but Nancy, was glaring at him like she was about to eat him. She assumed pouncing position, eyes fixed on Ken and tail twitching from side to side.

"Okay, she's never done that before. But it's not like she can actually eat you!"

Mew leapt at Ken, running at top speed to pounce on his foot. She then realised that Ken was much, much bigger than her, and sat down to wash herself again, as if she'd never attacked him at all.

Ken looked very surprised. "Oh! Maybe I shouldn't have avoided cats all that time! I guess she understands that I might be tasty, but she'll never win."

"Cats have a reputation for being very lazy, but in fact they're very sensible."

Ken knelt down and patted Mew, tentatively. To Nancy's surprise, Mew allowed this, even if she did immediately wash where Ken had patted.

"I'm sorry to freak out, Nancy. I think maybe this could work?"

"It's cool. Mew is a pretty amazing cat. If you make a truce with any cat, it's good that it's Mew. What were you doing with your friend Tomas?"

"Oh, stuff. Orientation. Orientation stuff."

"Uh huh. You want to go get some lunch?"

"Definitely! I'm starving after all that, um, unpacking."

Nancy had no idea what Ken's deal was, but Mew liked him, so he was obviously an acceptable human being. Or just tasty, but that was fine too.

They got in the elevator and headed down to the cafeteria, but before they got to the ground floor the elevator jerked and froze. Nancy hit the down button a few times, but to no avail. They were stuck.

"Oh man, oh man, this isn't good," Ken muttered. "Do they have a number there for us to call?"

Nancy read it out to him and he called the company.

"They said there's a whole lot of stuck elevators on campus because there's a superhero fight? With that guy Kraven the Hunter? And the power's on again but the elevators aren't moving."

"Well, they shouldn't be that long, then. At least they know we're here."

Ken's phone kept buzzing. "God, shut up, Tomas! I'd be there if I could!"

Nancy's phone also buzzed: it was a campus-wide superhero security alert, warning everyone to stay out of elevators and away from the eastern part of the campus. "Kind of late, guys."

Ken sounded really anxious. "How long do you think they'll be, Nancy?"

"Uh, an hour maybe? Are you claustrophobic or something?"

"No, it's not that, it's…okay, I guess telling you now will avoid a lot of lies in the future. I have superpowers."

"The good, give you muscle powers and flight kind, or the bad, give you radiation powers and kill everyone you love kind?"

"Oh, don't worry, I got good ones. I have powers of koi and powers of boi. I can breathe underwater, even in heavily silted environments, and I can summon and talk to fish. And I can appear generally masculine-presenting at will."

"Is the fish thing why Mew wants to eat you?"

"Maybe she can smell my inherent koi-ness? But there's a dark side to my power. Like any other koi, I slowly grow to fit any container I'm in."

"How slow is 'slowly'?" Since he mentioned it, Ken was definitely taller, at eye-level with Nancy.

"I could probably fill this elevator in about an hour."

"Wait – if you fill the elevator, where do I go?"

"That's the dark side," Ken whispered tragically. "There's nowhere for you to go."

Nancy grabbed him by the shoulders. "Pull it together, Ken! You must have studied a lot about koi, right?"

"Of course! I asked them myself."

"So what slows down their growth?"

"Insufficient food, for one thing."

"Okay, you're hungry for lunch, so that will help. What else?"

"Uh, low temperatures? Koi sort of hibernate."

"Here!" Nancy stood him in front of the air vent. "Feel the chill."

Ken shook his head. "I don't know if this will be enough."

"You don't have to hold out forever. Just a little longer than you thought. Cold and hungry, Ken, cold and hungry."

An hour later, Ken was taking up half the elevator, dressed only in his boxers and a t-shirt, which Nancy had let him keep for dignity. There was still plenty of space for Nancy.

"Stand away from the door, please!" came voices from the outside, and the moment the doors were slid apart, Ken deflated to his normal size. The security guys didn't even notice.

"Getting a bit warm in there, was it?" one security guy asked, even though Ken was shivering and covered in goose bumps.

"Thanks, everyone, now we're off to get lunch!" Nancy waved them away and gave Ken his clothes.

"See? You can totally control your powers, Ken! And cats won't actually eat you! You've learned so much today, and I've only known you for maybe four hours."

Ken sounded weary. "Nancy, having you for a roommate is going to be an amazing adventure. And very, very tiring."



3. Cats

"Nancy, we should totally go to the zoo and check out all the animals," Doreen told her. "Chipmunk Hunk and Koi Boi and me, we all had easy contact with our animal inspirations. What if you could command, say, a rare Brazilian boa constrictor?"

"This isn't Harry Potter and I don't speak Parseltongue," Nancy protested. "Also, he didn't command it, he spoke to it politely."

"I speak to Tippy-Toe politely!"

"That's not the point. Anyway, I can speak to an animal already."

"Really? Ooh, let me guess. Could you be Gazelle Belle? Ursine Person?"

"When would I have met a gazelle or a bear, Doreen?"

"I don't know? Sometimes I wonder who I would have been if I'd been born somewhere with no squirrels. Like Australia." Doreen's eyes were wide. "How tragic!"

"Just to stop you making up more names for me, I can talk to Mew. And yes, she can talk back."

"Wow! Can you talk to other cats, too?"

"I don't have any other cats. Besides, Mew would be incredibly jealous if I tried. Cats are very clear about who's in their family and who isn't. Even you and Tippy-Toe are still in the approval queue."

Doreen carefully extended her hand to Mew, who was lying in the middle of Doreen's bed, allowing Doreen perch on the edge. Mew sniffed her, then accepted her pats in the neutral upper-right-flank area.

"So, Nancy, are you going to get a code-name and fight crime? You and Mew would make a great team!"

Nancy burst out laughing. "Doreen, do you even go here? Cats don't care about crime. If I tried to command Mew to help me fight crime, she'd stick a claw in me. And I'd deserve it."

"Oh. Squirrels and chipmunks are way more communal, I guess. I'm not sure about koi, though."

"Koi Boi spends so much time on land that he's probably atypical for a being with power of koi. But just because I can talk to an animal doesn’t mean I'm about to put on tights and run around being a hero. I've got plenty to do already."

Doreen sighed. "Like this CS quiz that's due in three hours?"

"Like that quiz. I refuse to flunk out because we were up battling minions of Hydra all night."

"Hmm. Hydra…do you think they can talk to water hydras? They're super cool! They're up to half an inch in size and probably immortal!"

"Doreen. Quiz. Immediately."

Doreen looked from Nancy's serious gaze over to Mew's flat stare. "Man, it's totally true about you and cats. You have serious priorities."

"That's right," Nancy told her, proudly, and got on with her quiz.



4. Responsibility

"Wow, it was great to meet your Aunt May," Doreen told Nancy on their way back from Queens. "She is a truly awesome old lady."

"Yeah, I know. I wish you could have met Uncle Ben. He would have really liked you. Especially the squirrel puns."

Doreen ducked her head, embarrassed. "She worked out my super secret identity in five minutes flat."

"You talked to a squirrel right in front of her!"

"He was adorable! Who wouldn't want to talk to him?"

"Uh, everyone else in the world apart from Squirrel Girl? And I guess Chipmunk Hunk, since he's learning Squirrel."

"See, that's two people already and – uh, who and/or what is that?" Doreen pointed up to an ominous silhouette in the sky, zooming towards them.

"Oh crap, let's hide!"

"No, Nancy, you take cover and I'll defend us!" Doreen flipped her tail out from her pants and put on her tiny squirrel-ear headband.

"Be careful!" Nancy warned her and ducked behind the nearest fence. She recognised that silhouette: it was the Green Goblin, on a goblin glider. It was no coincidence that he was out here, in her known stomping grounds, but why did he attack Nancy personally? She quickly stripped off her outer layer of clothes, checked her binder, inserted her cup-slash-packer, and pulled on her mask.

Squirrel Girl was bravely battling Green Goblin, and had managed to perform a spectacular squirrel-leap onto the wing of the glider, which was listing drastically to one side and spinning in a wide circle. Nancy could hear scraps of what Doreen was saying as she spun by.

"…green is a great colour, are you environmentally…And your scientific…alternative fuels! Then…"

"Spider-man!" Green Goblin roared, firing off a pumpkin bomb from a mounted cannon. "I will destroy you!"

"Gonna have to be more accurate than that!" Nancy laughed, flipping out of the way. "Don't look now, there's a squirrel on your back!"

There certainly was, and she was cranky. "Enough shooting! You're going to hurt someone!" Doreen ripped a panel off the glider and bit through a large bundle of wires. It must have been something critical to the steering, because as Doreen leapt to safety, the glider spun off into the air and sailed over the houses towards the park. A moment later, there was a sad, distant splash.

"Woah, Spider-Man!" Doreen dashed over and pumped Nancy's hand. "Team-up!"

"You did all the work. That's much of a team-up."

"It was cool, though! Hey, did you see my friend Nancy? She went –"

"Doreen," Nancy said.

"She was over by that fence, and –"

"Doreen."

"Oh hey, you know my name! That's cool, but – "

"Doreen! It's me! I'm Spider-Man!"

"Holy carp crap! It's you!" Doreen lowered her voice. "Quick, go get changed, then we can talk about this."

Nancy ducked behind the fence for a quick change while Doreen stuffed her tail in her stretchy pants.

"Okay, Nancy, first, this is incredibly cool. Secondly, Nancy, this is incredibly not cool! I told you my secret identity weeks ago."

"You mean, I worked it out weeks ago. Aunt May isn't the only brains in the family."

They linked arms and headed towards the station again.

"Yeah, but the whole Spider-man thing had me thrown off completely. It's genius!"

"It was a total accident. I was pretty young when I started, and I was a late bloomer in the puberty department, so the first time I was out the press called me Spider-man and that was that. I mean, these days I wear a binder and actively pursue a masculine line in costume, but it really wasn't my idea. Sometimes I feel bad about not being a role model for girls."

"You're a role model for everyone," Doreen said, firmly. "I mean, people with fluid gender presentation need role models too!"

Nancy grinned. "Doreen, you're right, as usual. Besides, you're only the second person I've ever told. I never want my identity to get out – it would be so dangerous for Aunt May!"

Doreen nodded solemnly. "Nancy, your secret is safely locked behind these teeth." She mimed turning a key. "But I've always wanted to ask, can you talk to spiders? Because that would be cool."

"No, I can't, sadly. And I've always wanted to ask you to stop stealing my theme song!"

"You mean my theme song!" Doreen objected.

"To be fair, Tony Stark owns the copyright, so you should probably take it up with him."

"Man, Tony owns everything," Doreen sulked. "Still, he was nearly my sidekick one time! Maybe I could persuade him to set the song free!"

She started rapidly texting, and Nancy laughed. "Good luck with that, Doreen," and sang, under her breath, "does whatever an iron can…"



5. Swaps

"Ack!" Nancy lasted about two second before falling flat on her butt. Well, not on her butt, but on her giant furry squirrel tail. "Ow! That thing is sensitive!"

"You're so tall!" Doreen said, from Nancy's body. "And how do you keep your balance so well with no tail?" She did a weird semi-moonwalk across the room. "Freaky!"

"Firstly, I don't tend to do things like climb trees and jump onto wires. Secondly, it's a baseline human body, it's meant to balance with no tail!"

Nancy wobbled up to her feet. Sticking her butt out definitely helped with the balance. Her vision was weird, too: everything looked like it had been run through a bad sharpening filter on Photoshop. She could see two spiders up in the corner of the room, and the little hairs on her own arm moving. Every time Doreen moved slightly, it caught Nancy's attention, even out of the corner of her eye.

"Wow, those posters are cool!" Doreen peered at the wall of the computer lab. "No wonder everyone likes posters except me!"

Nancy glanced over at them. They were kind of flat and dull. "Your vision is different to mine. Everything that moves is making me twitchy, and everything still is in the background."

"People are so interesting! Also your fingernails are really blunt!"

"If you're done admiring my fingernails, we should try to get out of here. Doctor Octopus probably didn't mean to hit us with that ray, but I don't think he cared that he did, either. He could be swapping everyone on campus!"

"Hmm. Can you cope with the squirrel powers? Because I can cope with the Nancy powers, now that I worked out walking and being tall and stuff."

Nancy glared at her, though she wasn't quite sure how that expression would work on Doreen's cute, round face. "Wait, wait. We're not going to fight Doctor Octopus. We're going to protect ourselves until we're ourselves again."

Doreen looked flabbergasted, and Nancy was pretty sure that expression had never been on her face before. "But Nancy! He's hurting people! We have to stop him!"

"We've barely mastered walking! We can't get into a battle!"

A fresh movement caught Nancy's eye. It was Tippy-Toe, running in to find Doreen. Nancy was about to explain what happened, when Doreen made a chik-chuk noise. Even stranger, Nancy could understand that she'd said "Bloppy-Boo why ug?"

"I don't understand what you said, Nancy," Tippy-Toe replied, and Nancy could understand that perfectly.

"We're in the wrong bodies, Tippy-Toe! I'm Nancy, she's Doreen!"

Tippy-Toe stared at one then the other. "Oh, that's just weird."

"Ugh, Nancy, your teeth are too flat. It's hard to speak squirrel with your mouth!"

"Please, don't try again, Doreen-in-Nancy's-body. It's painful," Tippy-Toe replied.

Nancy was starting to suspect squirrels were more judgemental than she had thought. "So, what's happening out there, Tippy-Toe?"

"Doctor Octopus is demanding that the head of the physics department is handed over to him so that he can prove that her latest paper is entirely wrong."

"How is zapping people into different bodies going to prove that?" Doreen asked.

"Uh, I think that's a side-effect. It was meant to disintegrate you."

Now Nancy was really thrilled. "Oh good! We should definitely go fight a guy with a disintegration ray!"

"A faulty disintegration ray," Doreen corrected her. "Come on!"

Doreen went for the window, rethought it, and ran out the door instead, Tippy-Toe jumping up on her shoulder.

"Crap, you'll get my body killed and I'll be stuck with the tail!" Nancy cursed and ran after them.

Doreen's legs were short compared to Nancy's, but they were also energetic and bouncy legs, and she caught up in no time. "So what's the plan?"

"Step one: surveillance!" They reached the edge of an open square where Doc Ock had upended a whole lot of lunch tables and was boosted up high on two tentacles, dangling two grad students upside-down the other two his tentacles.

"Find me my enemy!" he bellowed.

"She's actually my advisor, so if you put me down I could…" one of the students said, but Doc Ock didn't seem to be listening to reason.

A campus security officer poked his head out of a doorway. "I've called the Avengers!" he yelled. "They'll be here any minute!" He ducked back, barely in time to avoid a zap from the disintegration ray.

Nancy glanced at the sky. Nope, no sign of the Avengers. They were probably off fighting sentient asteroids to save the Earth or something.

"Okay, here's the plan," Doreen whispered. "You and Tippy-Toe climb him with squirrel agility and cover his eyes. He'll be confused and off-balance and then I'll squirt him with this fire hose."

"I'm not sure my squirrel agility is really at full power right now," Nancy told her.

"Go! You'll be fine! Don't overthink it!"

Nancy sighed, then ran across the courtyard. Doctor Octopus noticed her immediately, but it was weirdly easy to predict his movements with this new squirrel-vision, and she dodged three shots from the disintegration ray to jump onto one of his tentacles, which he was using as a leg. She wobbled for a moment trying to work out how to climb, so she closed her eyes to stop herself trying to work out which hand first. Instinct took over and she swarmed upwards like Tippy-Toe, using both hands and feet to cling on. Doctor Octopus shot at her again, but hit his own tentacle instead. It sparked and twisted.

"Aargh! No! Stupid girl, what have you made me do!" He dropped the grad students, who made a break for it.

"Jump!" Doreen shrieked, and Nancy did as she was told, Tippy-Toe hanging onto the woolly edge of her jacket.

The fire hose hit Doc Ock full blast, and knocked him down. The exposed wiring of the damaged tentacle shorted out and paralysed that limb at full extension, sending him sprawling on the ground. He tried to recover his mobility but the limb was too badly damaged.

"Curse you, Squirrel Girl!" he shouted as he ran for it on his remaining limbs. "I'll be back!"

"Yay, Squirrel Girl!" shouted the grad students and security guard. Nancy smiled and waved, then hauled Doreen away as quickly as possible.

"Your secret identity is going to be toast at this rate! And I'll be a kidnapped sidekick in no time! And then – "

Nancy suddenly realised that she was looking down at Doreen. They had swapped when they made physical contact.

"Oh, thank you, I've got my tail back!" Doreen jumped for joy, while Nancy felt her own face with delight.

"I'm me again! Doreen, I just have to reiterate that these things never happened before I met you."

Doreen grabbed her in a big hug. "But isn't life awesome now?"

Nancy sighed. She wasn't quite ready to commit to that.

6. Awesome

Nancy sat at her tiny desk finishing her database assignment. She couldn't hear typing from the other desk, though.

"Doreen? Are you done already?"

"No! I'm thinking."

This was often a bad sign. "What about?"

"How weird it is that the college's roommate matching algorithm gave me the exact perfect roomie."

"Well, thank you, but you're not going to go and investigate if it's an AI, are you? I mean, maybe it is, but it's obviously benevolent."

"I don't want to fight it! I thought I might send it a thank you card."

"Maybe send an e-card. It would most likely appreciate that more, since its only visual input is probably a scantron device."

Doreen spun around on her chair. "Ugh! How are you so smart? That's perfect! Do you think it likes cats? I bet it likes cats."

"Everyone likes cats." Nancy narrowed her eyes. "Everyone good, that is."

"Yeah, of course! But isn't it strange that out of all the possible universes out there, we ended up roomies?"

Nancy shrugged. "I can imagine a lot weirder universes."

"Really? Like what?"

"Uh, ones where I don't like you? And I don't want to do this?" Nancy dropped a kiss on Doreen's lips.

Doreen grinned. "Yeah, that would be a weird universe, 'cause I'm pretty great."

Nancy kissed her again. "Well, you're not a cat, but apart from that, yeah, you're pretty great." She closed her homework assignment and hauled Doreen over onto her lap. "Now, keep that tail out of my nose."

Doreen wiggled her tail, tickling Nancy's jaw. "But it's got a mind of its own!"

Nancy grabbed it firmly. "Now I have to use my left hand solely for the purpose of tail-holding, so you'll have to miss out on anything my left hand could have done for you."

Doreen wrapped her arms around Nancy. "We've still got three hands between us! We can work it out!"

"See, that's why everyone likes Squirrel Girl better than Spider-man. It's the can-do attitude. And the cute little ears. He should try that some time." Nancy grinned as Doreen kissed her again. This was definitely by far the best of all possible worlds.
Sunday, January 3rd, 2016 12:25 pm (UTC)
I kudossed this on AO3 while it was still anonymous! Thank you again for the reading pleasure.