by Fur and Fantasy
PG for Gen
full contents and notes located at the bottom of the file
Chance Furlong was not a Kat particularly prone to hesitancy, so having him hover about awkwardly for most of the afternoon was more than enough to tip Jake off to the fact that something was up. There were several times during the day when he almost asked exactly what was going on, but every time he worked up to it the tabby would slip away.
So something truly big was going down.
"I ... I've got something for you," Chance said finally, just as they finished up dinner.
"Oh?" Jake cocked his head; intensely curious at what could have the tabby so wound up.
"Yeah," Chance nodded. "It's kinda complicated." He drew a black leather object out of his pocket, something that Jake recognized immediately. An Enforcer ID wallet. He set it on the table and slid it across toward Jake.
He raised a curious eyebrow and slid it the rest of the way over after a moment's hesitation. He wasn't sure he wanted to look, but he couldn't not look with his partner watching him so nervously. What he saw, he was utterly unprepared for.
His face staring back from the ID half, hisbadge on the other side.
Shock held him silent long enough for his eyes to realize a promotion was included in the otherwise completely perfect set.
Finally he looked up at his partner with a wordless plea for an answer he couldn't even begin to make himself think of.
"I dunno that you're gonna like this," Chance admitted softly, his eyes dropping to the table as he swallowed nervously. "The Commander said it was the only way."
"The Commander?" Jake finally managed something sort of coherent, his brain steadfastly refusing to process what it was given into a complete picture.
"Commander Feral," Chance clarified softly. "Uly."
"I know who he is," Jake's tail twitched in irritation. "Since when did he become something other than 'Feral'?"
"Well mostly he is, but I just ... I wanted ... I'm screwing this up aren't I?" The tabby shook his head and tried again. "He tried to make it all work out properly, but the Enforcers didn't have the money. He said that SWAT was more important and that we, you and me, would have to make some sacrifices ..."
Jake continued to stare at him, utterly unwilling to let any of the ideas the back of his mind was coming up with to be heard until his partner had finished. Ten years rated that much and a lot more.
"So, uhhhh, that's kinda a reward for all the good work we did. I got one too."
Jake looked down at the badge, then back up at his partner. "The debt? Your license?"
Chance shook his head. "The debt's not a problem. My license is a little harder to fix until we're officially re-instated, but he promised he would."
Jake's face dropped to stare at the badge still in his hands, reluctantly facing up to something he'd known for years. "I don't know why any of this happened, and I can't say I much care anymore." He said softly and folded the wallet to push it back across the table. "Whatever the price for that, I don't want it."
"But ..." For the first time since he started talking Chance looked up, and Jake could see the tabby's stricken expression. "But it's yours. You earned it."
"After six years of being free, thinking I'm free, I don't want to go back." He said softly, shaking his head. "Nothing is worth answering to him again."
"I don't ..." Chance didn't finish, he just didn't know what to say next. "Jake. Please."
"What did he tell you?" Jake asked softly, almost gently. "You know there's a price to pay for them, or for not accepting them."
"He's trying to make it right," Chance said, and odd plaintive note creeping into his voice. "This isn't the way it was supposed to be, but you know how important it was for the city that SWAT was there. You've said it enough times. Feral will do anything he has to to protect the city ... even to us. Doesn't mean he didn't want it right to begin with."
Jake nodded, not questioning the statement in the least. "I still don't want to go back."
"But we have to. There has to be SWAT Kats."
"Yes, there does," he nodded. "And the SWAT Kats are not Enforcers. They can't be to do what we do. You know that at least as well as I do."
"I ... I don't get it." Chance confessed softly. "This was supposed to make everything better."
"Better?" Jake looked at him a little strangely. "Beyond getting your civilian license back, what part of this is better?" He asked quietly.
"Don't you want to be an Enforcer again? The way we should have been?"
"I will not wear that uniform again." Jake shook his head emphatically, though there was no anger in his voice. "I will not answer to anyone like that again. If he wants to charge me with the laws we broke doing his job for refusing this, he can. I'm not going to give in to blackmail or bribes, Chance. I'm not afraid of prison anymore. I'm not afraid of himany more. I finally understand what I was trying to do by enlisting, and it's not something I can in uniform."
"Oh." It was all that Chance could think of to say, leaving the table to fall into uncomfortable silence as Jake went back to eating, though he'd clearly lost all enthusiasm for it.
"I guess I'd better take that back then," Chance said softly as he got up.
"You're going back to them?" Jake asked quietly.
"It's what I always wanted," Chance said. "And they're better of with one SWAT Kat than none. I'll make sure they don't bother you with any of this junkyard stuff."
"Yes they are," he nodded before standing to pick up the dishes with a swish of irritation in his tail. "At least you'll have what makes you happy." Jake murmured with a trace of pain in his voice as he walked to the kitchen. "It's the best I could wish for you, all I ever did wish for you."
Chance nodded numbly, picking up Jake's ID wallet from the table and rubbing his finger across the black leather cover. "I'm sorry," he told the empty room.
"Furlong." A deeply angry female voice snapped the tabby's attention to his left a fraction of a second before a well trained fist cracked him flat on his back, staring up at a deep black shekat with a lashing tail and her hands now on her hips. "If you aren't the most cowardly, self-centered dunce in the friggin city, you have one hell of an explanation to make to your partner of ten years."
"What the fuck?" Chance managed, dazed slightly as he found himself suddenly laid out on the sidewalk outside the shop front he'd been looking at. It only took him a moment to shake that off and focus on his assailant. "Lady, you really don't want to piss me off."
"You shouldn't have walked out on your partner and city for a badge." She snorted. "I really thought you were a better kat that that. Abandoning SWAT for a badge has got to be the most cowardly thing I've ever heard of."
"Well, luckily enough, I don't have to give a shit what you think," the tabby growled as he got to his feet, brushing the dirt off his ass. "Get the hell out of my face before I get someone to arrest you for assault."
"Never figured T-Bone for a coward." She shook her head and turned away. "At least Razor still gives a damn about this city."
"Whatdid you see in that tabby?" Midnight Sky huffed and dropped her shoulder against the fuselage of the TurboKat in its new hideout.
"I told you not to bother, Midnight." Jake's voice was quiet and very tired as he worked in the jet he'd created from scrap and a dream he was loosing heart in. "He doesn't want anything but that badge."
"Ten years, Jake." She shook her head sharply. "How the hell did you miss that?"
"Only two ways." The lean tom sighed and set his tool down, stilling for a moment before he reached for a different one. "Chance has been lying to me so well I never had a clue for at least six years, or that's not my partner and the real Chance is in a cell somewhere and a robot or something is walking around in his place. Nothing came by official channels, the badge was just a gunner's, not special ops, no paperwork, no explanations ... and Chancesaying Feralwanted to make things right? Give me a break. I had to replace at least a TV a yearcause Chance broke it venting against Feral."
"Neither sounds very likely." The muscular black shekat admitted as she watched her friend work with growing concern. "Any way to find out if it's really him?"
"Not beyond finding the real one, unless he's a robot." Jake shook his head. "It's much more likely that he's been brainwashed or something. Or I've been a fool for years."
"Jake, you're not a fool." Midnight moved close and squeezed the lean tom's shoulder. "You care a little too much for the city sometimes, but not a fool."
"Just foolish." He muttered. "I can't keep this up for much longer without him. I'm just not that good a pilot, or at working alone."
"I wish I could help." Midnight sighed softly with real worry in her eyes.
"But you aren't a pilot, I know." He reached up and squeezed her hand on his shoulder. "We each do what we can. You do a lot for folks, you just don't get the press the flashy saviors do."
"I know," Midnight leaned over to kiss him on the cheek. "I worry about you. You could do a lot more good providing designs than out there on your own, you know."
"I already tried that," he growled in old anger. "No one would hire me. Odds are just showing my face will get me arrested right now. They obviously know who Razor is, since they have T-Bone."
"That's just not fair," the black shekat lashed her tail.
"Nothing in life is fair," he sort of chuckled. "We just do our best with what we're given."
"You still deserve better than that." She insisted.
"Yeah, I know. It's just not going to happen." He shrugged slightly and focused back on his work. "I wouldn't be doing this if I was trying to have fair."
Jake opened his eyes slowly out of respect for the throbbing in his head from the less than gentle impact he's taken with the ground. He was both a little relieved an annoyed when he placed the cell as a decidedly Enforcer one. After nearly five months of flying on his own, it was a strange kind of relief to have it over.
He shifted a bit to get more comfortable on the bunk and relaxed until someone came to tell him how long he'd be here.
The first indication of any movement was the hushed sound of discussion, or maybe hushed argument, coming from down the corridor. The voices went on for some time, then fell into silence. A single pair of footsteps came steadily towards Jake's cell.
When he glanced up it was a very familiar tabby in a sharply tailored black and red flight uniform. Despite regulations, he was coming to see the prisoner alone. He seemed grave, almost sad, as he approached the lean tom's cell.
"Hey," Chance said awkwardly as Jake looked at him with half open eyes. "They told me they took you to the hospital."
"Yeah," Jake just shrugged a bit. "Obviously I wasn't hurt much."
"You could have been," the tabby said seriously. "That ... thing swatted you out of the air like a bug."
"It was bound to happen. You know I can't fly like you do." He said in a remarkably accepting tone.
"Or like any of our pilots," Chance nodded. "Not that you'd let a little thing like that stop you from getting killed."
"I accepted dieing a long time ago. I had to to fly with you, Enforcer or SWAT." Jake said simply. "Just because you left the team, doesn't change my promise to the city."
Chance let out an explosive breath and was about to follow up with equally scathing words, though he managed to reign himself in at the last second and didn't see so much as a twitch of a reaction from the tom in the cell. "It's not easy you know. Hoping you'll get arrested just so you don't get killed."
"No, I don't suppose it is." He accepted, quietly calm.
Chance looked at him for a few more seconds then shook his head and turned his face away. "I just wanted to make sure you were okay. I'm glad you got to live this time Jake."
"Did you get what you wanted out of it?" Jake's voice was soft against his back.
"What do you mean?"
"Are you happy with your life?" He elaborated a bit. "Being in uniform again."
"Yeah," Chance nodded slowly. "Mostly. We're making a difference."
"Good," he let a small breath out and closed his eyes. "Good. You deserve to be happy."
"Yeah, well, things could be better, but that's the way things go around here, right?" The tabby sighed and drew himself up a little straighter. "You need anything? I might be able to get them to bend the rules, just a little."
"Usually," Jake nodded acceptingly. "Is my arrest public knowledge yet? Under either name."
"I dunno. I haven't seen the news since I got in, but if Anne saw you go down like that she might have decided you're dead. Scared the fuck out of me."
"Would you let Midnight know I came out in one piece?" He asked with a tone of truly meaning it as a favor. "She'd either be at the Lower Crescent Shekat's Shelter, or home."
"I'll send someone to find her," Chance offered. "We don't exactly get along."
"Yeah, she is something of a firebrand." Jake smiled fondly. "She doesn't have anything against you, she's just upset cause of the mood it put me in. She hates it when I start accepting fate."
"You might think so, but I've got bruises that say otherwise," Chance replied.
"She hit you more than that once?" He looked over with a frown.
"Like I said, we don't get along. These days I mostly manage to see her coming."
Jake nodded and relaxed back. "Thanks."
"No problem," Chance replied, then found himself lingering as the silence stretched out, growing steadily more and more awkward. "Well, you're okay, and I really should get back to it."
"You shouldn't risk getting booted again." Jake agreed quietly with his eyes closed as he lay there on his back with his hands folded under his head for a bit more of a pillow than the cell provided.
Days passed with a variety of people coming to talk to him, or at him, involving the charges against him. Six and a half years of activities as a SWAT Kat. Weapons charges, vehicle charges, unlawful activities both major and minor that there was little point to acknowledge or deny. A solid third were on film, and they'd brought him in in the remains of his SWAT uniform so denying he was Razor was a bit pointless, even if he'd been inclined to do so.
He'd known this was coming for years, after all. The details of it were of little surprise at this point. His lawyer was a public defense attorney. Not the best, but not the worst. Just as he'd excepted.
She was doing her best to find a way to work around the charges, and was utterly frustrated by his refusal to contest his identification as Razor. While she was right it was likely his best bet, and his second appealing to the jury to acquit for the good he'd done. His acceptance of what would be centuries of jail time drove her crazy.
The only thing she seemed thankful for was his lack of problems involving a plea bargain if she could get a good one.
Three weeks later, it was politics chose his fate. Between the Mayor's fear of the public backlash, no matter how small, of putting a SWAT Kat in prison, and Callie's maneuverings that included the ability to pardon him the minute the verdict was handed down if it was guilty, he was informed that he have a plea bargain if he'd take it.
Detail the location of all SWAT materials and ten years on probation that bared him from owning or carrying a weapon and he could walk out.
His lawyer was beyond thrilled when he nodded and signed it. He marked out where things were and included the fact that just like the TurboKat they'd salvaged, all the SWAT gear had long since run their self-destruct sequences.
"But why?" His lawyer brought her hand to her mouth in the shock that displayed on all three kats facing him as the Enforcers realized that they'd get nothing out of it if he'd done even half as good a job as he'd done on the Hanger and jet they knew about.
"Because I didn't want them falling into the wrong hands." He just shrugged. "A lot of people were out looking for SWAT, and once I was out of the picture, I couldn't let things like that lie around."
She nodded, but the officers looked very unhappy. Deep inside he smiled a little vindictively. They could have had a TurboKat as a standard jet by now if he hadn't been blacklisted in the aerospace industry before he'd enlisted.
Even so, it had felt good to make a difference by his creations. That much he'd really miss. He'd miss the companionship he'd had with SWAT too, but as the pain had cooled over the past few weeks while politicians and lawyers argued over his fate and he stared at the ceiling with nothing to do but think he realized he really preferred to have it this way.
Chance was happy in his new job. It was good to know the tabby was still alive and fighting with their parting, rather than in the grave Jake had long expected the goodbye to mean.
It hurt, but not nearly as much as burying him would have. And now Chance had a taste of what he'd always wanted.
All in all, it was a good end to the best chapter of Jake's life.
PG for Gen
19 KB, Story is Complete, Series is Finished
Written May 16, 2003 by Rauhnee Ranshanka and Vorex
Setting: SWAT Kats
Primary Races: Kat
Contents: Furry. Gen.
Blurb: When Chance is given an offer he just can't pass up, neither he nor Jake are really prepared for what it does to each of them.
Disclaimer: All things taken directly from the sources listed under 'Fandoms' belong to the owners of those shows. No harm is intended and we're definitely not making any money. Now, the things we created are ours, and if you see 'Non-FanFic' up there, it's probably all ours.
Page Hit Count from February 17, 2005