Battle of the Bulge, part 3

Date Written: 
07/27/2006

Jill Masterson grunted as she crawled into her car.  She looked up at her apartment, knowing full well this could be the last time she ever saw it.  Things had been rough for Jill the past few months.  Life as Athena had only been getting slower and slower, and Jill had built up a genuine resentment for the Goddess and the duty that she had thrust upon her.  She had started a relationship with Tommy, but it had ended badly within only two weeks.  She had been extremely depressed and was only getting fatter and fatter.  She had balloo- bulked up another twenty pounds since splitting with Tommy.  She patted her broad stomach, aware of how much smaller her car seemed since she'd gotten fat.  But regardless of her personal life, she still had a duty to do.  She had been hearing disturbing news about Wrecking Balloon since their last encounter.

As War Machine, she had been an average villainess.  Getting into scraps with various superheroes that ended more often than not in her defeat.  As Wrecking Balloon she was running rampant.  Billy Blur, a superhero known for his blinding speed, had rammed into her full force and been propelled so far and high that he had fallen to his death when he came down.  Serpentina, a superheroine who could manipulate her bone structure, had been crushed under Wrecking Balloon's powerful bulk.  And Fearless, Goliathe, Action Man, and Force Girl had all been popped like balloons at the hands of Wrecking Balloon.  In fact, the only hero who had fought her and survived since she had assumed her new persona was The Marvel.  Completely and utterly invincible, he had nearly had Wrecking Balloon; but she had finally gotten her hands on him and begun to inflate him, but couldn't pop him.  So she had kept going and going.  Astronomers were currently tracking his orbit around the planet.

As the only person to defeat Wrecking Balloon, and also as the person who had created her; Jill knew it was her responsibility to deal with this Superhero Serial Killer; or she very well could rule the world.  So she had tracked her through her contacts in the news media and figured out that she was making her way to a town in the next state over.  She would arrive there tomorrow.  And so Jill had stayed late at work, gone up to the fourth floor bathroom and retrieved her gloves and boots; and now she was setting out to intercept Wrecking Balloon.  Either way it would be the end for Athena.  After this she was going to tell The Goddess she was done with it all.  But she just hoped it wasn't the end of Jill Masterson as well.  She started her car and pulled into traffic.

*THE NEXT DAY*

Business at the First National Bank was slow that day.  A man in town had just hit a multi-million dollar jackpot in the national lottery; and had deposited 98% of it into this branch.  The armored car was coming for it later that day.  John Franklin boredly thanked another customer for doing business with First National and sighed as he waved the next person over.  "Just need to deposit this."  she said, handing him a paycheck.  He began to enter it into the system when he heard a commotion from the lobby.  He looked up to see an older man arguing with a young woman in a trenchcoat.  "I was here first!"  the man was saying.  The woman opened her mouth to say something, then just sighed.  She opened her mouth inhumanly wide, as if she was going to bite the man's head off, and then with a great rushing of wind she began to inhale.  John's eyebrows furrowed as he wondered what the hell was going on, then he noticed the trenchcoat getting tighter.  The buttons burst off of it and the belt burst apart, and John realized the woman was inflating herself!  "Shit."  he said.  He knew immediately who she was.  "Later, honey."  he told the woman cashing her check, and hauled ass to the back exit.

He wasn't the only one, a few of the customers with more presence of mind headed for the exits as fast as they could.  Wrecking Balloon burst out of her coat as she reached her full size, then patted her bloated stomach.  "Aaah."  she said.  The old man just stared up at her, his jaw wide open.  Wrecking Balloon hit him on the head with her right hand, and he crumpled like cardboard with a wet cracking sound.  "Jerk."  she said.  The two security guards at the side of the room were running towards her, pulling their pistols, and she turned towards them and exhaled.  The force of it blew them back against the wall, where they landed with a splat.  "Now then."  Wrecking Balloon said, ignoring the customers as she waddled towards the vault in the back.

Meanwhile, a gothic looking young woman who had been sitting and calmly reading a magazine set her magazine down and stood up.  The black jeans she was wearing deepened to an unearthly, inky blackness.  Her coat and t-shirt did the same.  The blackness that now surrounded her spread and enveloped her, then spread outwards like a mist, forming a small cloud of darkness.  In the midst of it now stood a Gothic Goddess.  Chalk white skin that seemed to be stained all over with the inky blackness that surrounded her.  Long, raven hair that swirled above her head.  Eyes that glowed like neon black-lights.  The only clothing she wore over her statuesque frame was strips of a black material that kept her decent and seemed to randomly run up her arms and legs.  Midknight, anti-hero, had made the scene.

She followed Wrecking Balloon to the vault, trailing the blackness around her like a fog.  She found the vault door hanging open and Wrecking Balloon standing inside.  She was calmly emptying the contents of the shelves into a bag.  Without saying a word, Midknight sent tendrils of blackness out to wrap around Wrecking Balloon's bloated limbs.  "What the?"  Wrecking Balloon said, noticing them as the wrapped around her.  The tendrils wrapped around her limbs and pulled her into a spread-eagled position.  She struggled against them, dropping her bag.  Then she began to inhale.  Her body swelled, but the tendrils swelled with her, keeping her immobile.  Wrecking Balloon cursed silently and stopped for a second.  She struggled against the tendrils for a moment more, and Midknight smiled.  Then Wrecking Balloon began to inhale again.  Midknight's brow furrowed as she wondered what the hell Wrecking Balloon was doing; and then Wrecking Balloon's body expanded beyond her limbs, becoming completely spherical.  The tendrils wavered for a second, then simply encircled the ball.  Wrecking Balloon paused again for a second and then kept going.  Eventually her body began to reach the walls.  Slowy she filled up the entirety of the room, until the doorway only revealed a pulsing wall of black lycra.  

Midknight's tendrils pulled back, and Midknight herself furrowed her brow even further.  How did she deal with something like this?  Then there was a great rushing sound, and part of the wall exploded.  It shot Midknight back in a gust of bricks and money as Wrecking Balloon deflated back to her usual size.  "Alright."  She said, exiting the vault through the wrecked wall.  "Who's the hotshot who thinks they can mess with me today?"  Midknight got to her feet.  "No wonder you're so large."  she said.  "I had thought it was air filling you so, I guess it was merely your ego."  She stood defiantly, facing the rather imposing figure of Wrecking Balloon.  "heh."  Wrecking Balloon laughed.  "You're a funny one."  she said.  "Who the hell are you supposed to be anyway?  Don't you know Halloween only comes in October?"  Midknight's lip curled.  "I am Midknight, and I shall put an end to your evil."  she said.  Wrecking Balloon laughed out loud.  "Jesus honey, and you think I look silly?"  she replied.  "Let's get this over with, if I have to listen to you talk anymore I'll pop myself from boredom!"  And she advanced on the Gothic Princess Of The Night.

Midknight shot a blast of darkness at Wrecking Balloon, which knocked her off-balance.  Wrecking Balloon regained her footing and smirked at Midknight, then opened her mouth wide and blew.  Midknight wrapped herself in darkness, and shot tendrils into the ground to steady herself.  It held her for a moment, but when the gust stopped, she dropped her barricade in time to see Wrecking Balloon a foot away from her with her fist in the air.  She let fly, knocking Midknight back out into the lobby.  

Midknight used her darkness to cushion her as he slammed into the wall, then landed softly on her feet.  She formed her darkness tendrils into a great point in front of her and sent them straight at Wrecking Balloon's stomach.  "eep."  Wrecking Balloon said, and turned her head to the side, blowing against the wall to push herself out of the way.  She half cartwheeled and half rolled on her stomach and came to a stop on her feet on the other side of the reception desk.  "Bitch!"  she yelled at Midknight, and kicked part of the desk at her.  It came apart like sand and flew at Midknight in a hail of debri.

Midknight raised her shields but it wasn't fast enough, she got hit with pieces of the desk and knocked to the floor.  Her cloud of darkness flickered for a moment as she fought to stay conscious.  She looked up to see a huge black ball rolling at her across the bank lobby.  She rolled out of the way just in the knick of time, and the ball smashed through the wall out into the parking lot.  She got to her feet and followed it outside, to see Wrecking Balloon stylishly coming to a stop on her feet.  Midknight used her arms to direct her tendrils and picked up two parked cars on either side of Wrecking Balloon.  After checking to make sure they were empty, she smashed them together on the bloated villainess.  She drew her tendrils back and waited for a second, then the cars shot apart, exposing Wrecking Balloon, once again almost spherical.  She had her thumb in her mouth comedically.  She exhaled back to her regular size and began to advance on Midknight again.

Midknight gritted her teeth and shot another point of darkness at Wrecking Balloon.  Wrecking Balloon stopped and began to inhale.  The darkness broke out of shape and began to be sucked into Wrecking Balloon's gaping mouth.  Midknight screamed as the tendrils led back to her, and her cloud of darkness began to get sucked into Wrecking Balloon's mouth.  "NO!"  she screamed.  The darkness seemed to physically rip away from her, and then disappeared into Wrecking Balloon.  Midknight fell to the pavement, a skinny, pale, almost naked goth chick powerless and vulnerable.  Wrecking Balloon stopped inhaling and patted her incredibly swollen gut.  She burped mockingly and grinned at Midknight.  She exhaled the excess air she had sucked in as she advanced on the helpless heroine.

"No!"  Midknight said.  She began to crawl backwards.  Darkness was beginning to stain her skin and seep out of her again, but it wasn't coming fast enough.  "Oh, I am gonna enjoy this you pretentious little bitch."  Wrecking Balloon told her, almost on top of the young woman now.  "HEY FATSO!"  someone called from behind her.  Wrecking Balloon's smiled changed to a look of inexpressible rage as she turned behind her.  There in the parking lot stood Athena, in all her perfectly proportioned glory.

"Oh, you-" Wrecking Balloon started, but Athena rushed forward blindingly fast.  She jumped up with one foot onto Wrecking Balloon's stomach, and kneed her in the face with her other leg.  Wrecking Balloon stumbled backwards, and Athena jumped up, falling straight down and planting both feet into her bulging stomach while she was off-balance.  Wrecking Balloon bounced backwards with a comedic "boing" noise and plowed into the wall of the bank, smashing it around her.  Athena landed with a thud on her back and then flipped to her feet.  She offered a hand to Midknight.  "Thank you."  Midknight said, getting up.  "No problem, now get out of here."  Athena told her.  "But.." Midknight started.  Athena shook her head.  "No, we don't have much time to talk, and I'm the only one who can beat her, trust me."  Athena said.  Midknight opened her mouth to protest again, and Athena just said "Go!", advanced on Wrecking Balloon's position.  "Hmph."  Midknight said, the darkness gathering around her once more.

"Athena!"  Wrecking Balloon said, getting to her feet and brushing dust off of herself, "Just can't get enough of me, huh?"  she yelled.  "This is it."  Athena told her.  "One of us is popping today."  She said.  "I was thinking the same thing."  Wrecking Balloon said, and they advanced on eachother.  Wrecking Balloon swung at Athena, who ducked, kicking sharply at Wrecking Balloon's kneecap.  Her foot sank in, and Wrecking Balloon swung down at her, unphased.  Athena rolled right, only taking a glancing blow on her side.  She grunted, rolling to a crouched position.  Wrecking Balloon blew herself up spherical and rolled at Athena.  Athena leapt straight into the air over her opponent, and Wrecking Balloon crushed a few cars before coming to a stop.  Athena ran towards her, and as Wrecking Balloon came to a stop on her feet, Athena leapt up and hit her with both knees in the back of the head.

Wrecking Balloon fell forward, landed on her stomach, and bounced backwards.  Athena, caught off guard, was caught by Wrecking Balloon's bouncing form and fell awkwardly to the pavement.  A normal human would have broken her neck.  As it was, Athena lost feeling in her legs as she struggled to get back into the fight.  Fortunately, Wrecking Balloon was momentarily knocked unconscious.  Athena awkwardly got to her feet and staggered, dragging one leg, to an un-crushed car to lean on.  "Oh God."  she said, rubbing her neck.  Wrecking Balloon was still out.

"Are you alright?"  Midknight asked, running up to Athena.  "I thought I told you to leave."  Athena told her.  "I know," Midknight said sheepishly, "I was hoping to hang back and then pop back in in the nick of time.  It would've been cool."  she said.  "Well don't worry about it."  Athena replied.  "Look, I'm not trying to be a bitch, and I hate to turn down help; but everyone else who's fought her has either been popped like a balloon or killed in some other fashion.  I'm the only one who's beaten her."  she said.  Feeling was starting to return to her legs, and she started to shake them and move around to hurry it up.  "Well what makes you think you can do it again?"  Midknight asked.  "I know who you are, and I know you've been out of action for months now."  "Hey," Athena said.  "I caught those kidnappers last month, and..." "And that's it."  Midknight finished for her.  "Look, we don't have a lot of time here."  she said, noticing Wrecking Balloon starting to stir.  "Let's just work together, and if you're right and you can handle it alone, I'll just stay out of your way."  Athena shook her head.  "Yeah, fine, whatever."  she said, jumping up and down to try and get all the feeling back.

Wrecking Balloon got to her feet, shaking her head.  "That was a good one."  she said to Athena.  "My ears are ringing."  she told her, shaking her head.  She straightened up and looked at the two.  "Oh, so you're back are you?"  She said to Midknight.  Midknight opened her mouth to speak, but Wrecking Balloon cut her off, still groggy.  "Fine, I can take two at a time.  Just ask the last two people who tried that on me.  Oh wait, you can't.  I popped them."  she said.  "This is just silly."  Midknight said.  She formed her tendrils into a point and thrust them at Wrecking Balloon again.  Wrecking Balloon exhaled straight down, launching herself into the air.  As she started to fall back, she inhaled and inflated herself again.  She hit the ground and bounced at the two heroes.

They dodged to either side and Wrecking Balloon plowed into the car, smashing it in as she bounced back.  Wrecking Balloon exhaled and landed on her feet.  "That is getting annoying!"  Wrecking Balloon said.  She grabbed a wreck of a car from the parking lot and hurled it at Midknight.  Midknight caught it with her darkness tendrils, and when she looked back at Wrecking Balloon she had inflated and was rolling at her; with her tendrils occupied there wasn't anything Midknight could do but scream.  Luckily for her, Athena ran and dropkicked Wrecking Balloon from the side, diverting her course.  She rolled out of the bank parking lot and into the larger central parking lot of the plaza the bank was in before deflating and getting to her feet.

Back in the bank parking lot, Midknight dropped the car, shaking.  "See, if I hadn't been here that would've been it for you."  Athena told her sternly.  "YEAH WELL FUCK YOU."  Midknight screamed, still shaking.  She put a hand to her forhead and waved Athena to go fight with Wrecking Balloon while she regained her composure.  Athena sighed and rushed at Wrecking Balloon, just barely over a blur.  Wrecking Balloon turned and saw her coming, and when Athena jumped up to kick her in the head, Wrecking Balloon grabbed her leg and flung her past herself.  With all the momentum, Athena flew like a missile through the parking lot and smashed through the glass doors of a grocery store at the other end of the plaza, showering the shoppers in broken glass.  She slid into the grocery store, knocking over shelves and scattering foodstuffs everywhere.  She lay there bleeding and hurting for a second before shakily regaining her feet.  She looked up to see a crowd of stunned people staring at her.  "Ah shit."  she said, looking at the mess she'd made.  "Sorry."  She told a horrified looking employee, then took off in a blur back through the parking lot.

What she saw when she got back to the back parking lot brought her to a stunned stop.  Midknight had tried a new strategy, instead of making one giant point, she made each of her individual tendrils into smaller points and was thrusting them at Wrecking Balloon.  To counter this, Wrecking Balloon had deflated to her former, human size and was dodging nimbly between them like a gymnast.  But this time there was no sign of the sagging skin Athena had taken advantage of last time.  Somehow Wrecking Balloon had been able to deflate herself back into a normal human in the blink of an eye.  "Oh great."  Athena said.

Meanwhile, Midknight paused in her assault for a second, and Wrecking Balloon got to her feet, she puckered her lips and faced Midknight; and then inhaled in one strong, sharp gasp.  Midknight fell to the pavement, clutching her throat and gasping for air, her tendrils dissipating as she lost concentration.  Wrecking Balloon smirked and began to walk towards her.  Athena rushed forward and body checked Wrecking Balloon, knocking her across the parking lot and smashing her back into the bank.  Then she got to one knee and checked on Midknight.  Midknight coughed and gasped and gave Athena a thumbs-up.  When she looked up again Wrecking Balloon was advancing out of the bank.  "I do hope you saw my new trick."  Wrecking Balloon said arrogantly.  "I worked pretty hard on that one."  "I'm more impressed with that."  Athena said, pointing at Wrecking Balloon's body.  The two started to circle eachother.  "From a blimp to normal in the blink of an eye, and with no stretchmarks!  Shit, you should give this up and write a book, women the world over would pay millions for your secret."  Athena said.  Wrecking Balloon genuinely laughed at that one.

"You know Athena, I'm gonna be sorry to pop you.  None of my other foes are as witty as you."  Wrecking Balloon replied.  Meanwhile, the two had circled so that Wrecking Balloon was standing with her back to Midknight.  With a grin, Midknight sent her darkness tendrils out to encircle Wrecking Balloon, holding her tight.  "Fuck!"  Wrecking Balloon said.  She gave Athena a dirty look and then started to inhale.  Athena rushed forward and put her hand over Wrecking Balloon's mouth.  But the pure suction Wrecking Balloon was creating was akin to the vacuum of space, and Athena's hand cracked as the suction pulled the center inwards while the fingers were held back by the outside.  "OW SHIT!"  Athena yelled, pulling her broken hand back and cradling it.  "What did she, bite you?"  Midknight called, getting to her feet.  "No."  Athena said, raising her broken hand and looking at it's twisted shape.  "Holy shit." she said.  "Holy shit."  Midknight echoed.  With her concentration elsewhere, Midknight's tendrils wavered, and Wrecking Balloon's expanding form burst right through them.  She swung back, knocking Midknight backwards and sending her rolling across the parking lot, unconscious.  "Oh that is fucking it!"  Athena yelled, advancing angrily on Wrecking Balloon.

Wrecking Balloon swung at her, but Athena ducked and swung with a hard left to Wrecking Balloon's jaw.  She staggered back, stunned at the hammer-like blow; and Athena swung again.  Blow after blow connected with Wrecking Balloon's face, until she fell to one knee, stunned.  "You like being a balloon?  Huh?  Well good."  She held the back of Wrecking Balloon's head by the hair, and began to inhale.  She reached her lung capacity and pressed on, using her rage to begin inflating herself.  "Damn."  she thought, "I'm getting a little too good at this."  She inhaled until the expansion spread to her stomach, then her breasts, then her limbs.  She was getting huge.  When she finally stopped she looked like a smaller version of Wrecking Balloon.  "You may be good at sucking."  Athena told her with a smirk.  "But I've always been better at blowing!"  She paused at the sexual innuendo, then decided she was too pissed and pulled Wrecking Balloon's face to hers.  But Wrecking Balloon was smiling at her.

She had been stunned at first, but had recovered in the time it took Athena to inflate herself.  So she played possum until Athena was done, and when Athena raised her face to hers; she smiled to surprise Athena, then pressed their lips together and started blowing while Athena was still shocked.  Athena mentally screamed in rage.  She'd been had.  Probably for the last time.  She tried to blow back but to no avail, and she still moved awkwardly while inflated, so she couldn't pull Wrecking Balloon off of her, so there was nothing she could do.  She just swelled and swelled.  Wrecking Balloon got smaller while she got bigger and bigger and bigger.  Her middle rounded out and began to resemble a hot-air balloon.  Her breasts got to the size of beachballs.  Her ass rounded out, her limbs became cone-shaped and huge.  She felt her face swell up, and could even feel the pressure behind her eyes.  She could feel her body start to resist, and a loud creaking could be heard.  She had failed.  She was going to be just another name on what was probably going to be a very long list of people Wrecking Balloon popped.  Damn.  She closed her eyes in resignation.

But then she felt it stop.  She opened her eyes, but instead of seeing Wrecking Balloon pulled away, she saw her eyes looking back at her wide, then they both looked down and saw blackness covering the bottom of Wrecking Balloon's face.  Wrecking Balloon released Athena and stepped away, and looked down at herself as she continued to deflate.  The blackness covering her face was connected to tendrils, which cartoonishly pumped the air out of her in little bulges, and back to the cloud that surrounded Midknight.  All of them, including Midknight, watched the bulges getting closer to the cloud, unsure of what would happen when they reached it.  At first nothing, and then Midknight's stomach began to round out.  It strained against the black material that was wrapped around her, and then the swelling spread.  Wrecking Balloon had only had a little bit of air left in her, and once it was gone she grasped her throat and her eyes rolled back in her head, she was being strangled!  Midknight looked up and saw that and removed her tendrils.  Wrecking Balloon collapsed, unconscious.

The rest of the air made its way through the tendrils, bloating Midknight even further.  She looked like an over-inflated gothic blow-up doll.  "Huh."  Midknight said, intrigued at her new shape.  She poked her bloated stomach and watched her finger sink in.  "Hey!"  Athena yelled, laying on her bloated stomach.  "You should've just let her choke!"  She yelled angrily.  "I... I couldn't."  Midknight said, looking away.  Athena sighed and looked at Wrecking Balloon, then back at Midknight.  "Hurry up, do me!  Just not all the way!"  she yelled.  "Why not?"  Midknight asked.  "Just do it!"  Athena yelled.  Midknight sighed and directed her tendrils at Athena.  They covered her mouth and Athena felt a deep, almost painful suction as the air was forcibly ripped from her lungs.  Maybe this was too much for Wrecking Balloon she thought as she deflated.

Meanwhile, Midknight bloated further and further.  She moved her limbs and rested her hands on her stomach, her breasts, her ass; intrigued at her body's swelling.  While she was preoccupied, Wrecking Balloon came to and got to her feet.  She looked at the scene in puzzlement and then just shrugged and began inhaling.  Athena saw and tried to yell but couldn't.  She was still so big she was immobile, and so she couldn't do anything but watch as Wrecking Balloon pumped up to her former size.  Finally Midknight looked up and saw what was going on.  She pulled her tendrils away from Athena and started to redirect them at Wrecking Balloon.  "NO!"  Athena yelled.  "Let me handle her."  She was only a little bigger than Wrecking Balloon's usual size, and pushed herself to her feet.  Midknight pulled her tendrils back warily and watched.  Wrecking Balloon watched Athena struggle to move.

This was it.  This was the big one.  The final battle.  The most important thing she had fought for.  Or at least that's what Athena told herself as she willed her limbs to cooperate.  Finally she seemed to accheive a state of acceptable mobility, and got in a fighting stance.  "Oh," Wrecking Balloon said with a laugh, "you want to have a balloon fight with me?  Honey, you are way out of your league."  She said, assuming her own fighting stance.  "We'll see."  Athena said.  "Don't forget who brought you to the dance."  She said.  She wasn't sure if it really applied, or if it was even close, but quips were the last thing on her mind, she had bigger problems.  Like backing up on her poorly-thought-out threats.

The two waddled towards each other, and Midknight watched in fascination as the two had a balloony-battle-of-the-titans.  They seemed to be moving in slow motion, each hit bouncing back with a resounding thud.  It was almost comedic and almost epic.  Even though each hit caused one woman to recoil, neither one was giving up an inch.  They raised bruises and drew blood, but neither one was backing down.  The began to move even slower, and a sheen of sweat made their ballooned figures shiny all over.  Finally the began to sag, leaning against each other.  "Alright."  Wrecking Balloon said, out of breath.  "One more time."  Athena told her, equally out of breath.  "The last time."  Wrecking Balloon said.  "The last time."  Athena agreed.  "The battle of the bulge."  she said, and Wrecking Balloon smiled.  Athena raised her left hand, and Wrecking Balloon awkwardly shook it with her right.  "To the bitter end."  Wrecking Balloon said.  Athena nodded.  Then they leaned in and embraced, and locked lips in what was almost a passionate kiss.

Already out of breath, the two blew as hard as they could.  At first Wrecking Balloon had the clear advantage, then she faltered for a moment, and Athena got the upper hand.  But she couldn't sustain it and Wrecking Balloon took over again.  Watching from the sidelines, Midknight stood with her mouth hanging open, just gawking at the two inflated women in a lip-lock to the death.  At first one's body would swell dangerously, then it would begin to deflate while the other filled up.  It was impossible to tell who was winning.  One would break away with a long bout of inflation, then it would go back and forth for a while and she'd be behind.  Time stood still in the epic confrontation.  Midknight became one of the crowd as other bystanders began to gather, gawking at the spectacle.  Midknight was dimly aware of police and fireman showing up and simply joining in the crowd, ignoring their duties as they stood entranced by the final showdown before them.

Time passed, no one there could tell how much, and finally, Athena began to get the upper hand.  Slowly and staggeringly, Wrecking Balloon spent more time swelling.  And finally it was obvious she was fighting a losing battle.  Tears were running down Athena's cheeks as she looked Wrecking Balloon in the eyes.  A single tear rolled down her cheek, and then she closed her eyes; and ceased blowing.  Athena shut her eyes too and let it all out.  She blew and blew and blew, and Wrecking Balloon lifted off the ground.  Her limbs became cone shaped, and then were absorbed into the swelling orb of her body.  An ominous creaking could be heard.  And then a very obvious stretching.  And then, boom.

The crowd of bystanders were knocked off their feet; and the blast blew debri and garbage all over.  Here and here a bit of blood or something worse was spattered around, but it was so few and far between that it was impossible to believe a human being had actually popped in front of them.  And at the epicenter was Athena.  She kneeled alone in the parking lot, still considerably bloated.  She was breathing heavily, and each time she exhaled she got a little smaller.  Finally people began to snap out of it, and the police and EMTs went about their business, corraling the crowd and checking the bank for wounded or worse.  And Midknight approached Athena.

By the time she got there Athena was completely deflated, but still breathing heavily.  "Are you alright?"  Midknight asked.  "Yeah."  Athena said.  "That was just... a bit much."  She got to her feet.  "How are you doing?"  she asked Midknight, looking at her still-bloated form.  "I'm fine."  Midknight replied.  "More or less."  "What do you plan to do about...?"  Athena asked, gesturing to her middle.  "I don't know."  Midknight said with a shrug.  "I'll figure something out."  They stood in silence for a second.  "So... I'll see you around I guess."  Midknight said.  "No, you won't."  Athena said.  Midknight gave her a quizzical look, and Athena just waved her off.  She walked silently to a car parked in the bank parking lot, got in, started it up, and drove away.  No one there that day had the presence of mind to check the license plates.

****EPILOGUE*****

Jill Masterson patted the dirt down in the park where she had buried her Athena costume.  She had talked to The Goddess, and told her she wasn't cut out for superheroing.  She had resigned from the Daily Star, packed up her car; and she was planning a road trip around the country.  See where the wind took her, and where she finally stopped.  "Maybe try out the different cuisines of the country." she thought as she patted her ample middle.  She had a vague idea to look into Wrecking Balloon/War Machine's background.  See who she was before she had become a supervillain.  If she had a chance.  The wind blew through her blond hair, and as she inhaled she put a hand on her stomach, feeling it swell a little bit.  "I guess War Machine wasn't the only one who got turned into a balloon."  she thought to herself, as she looked down at her expanded figure.  She knew she was going to get bigger, a lot bigger.  And maybe, she didn't mind.

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