Cost of Living 1:
Act of Practicality

by Fur and Fantasy
full contents and notes located at the bottom of the file

Callie sighed as she finished sifting through the bills for the end of the month and checking her figures for the third time. At this rate, she'd be able to make ends meet for another two weeks, maybe a month; then she'd have to move into her office. She leaned back and thought for a few minutes, trying to figure out some way to cut back on the costs. If she didn't know that the place was too small for two people, she'd have tried finding a housemate -- hang on, there was an idea.

She opened the paper she'd picked up earlier and looked at the classifieds. There was one place she'd been thinking of, but hadn't thought would be practical on her own. With a housemate, on the other hand...

The slender blond shekat pulled her cell phone out of her purse and dialed Abi Sinian's number. If she was going to be sharing her living quarters, she was going to share them with a friend.

"Hello." The older shekat's slightly distracted voice answered on the third ring.

"Abi? Are you particularly busy tonight?"

"Just the usual. Meet for dinner?" She suggested easily.

"Sure," Callie said, smiling even as she bounced the figures around in her head and decided it was feasible. "You want me to pick you up?"

"Sounds good." The older female said. "It'll make sure I get there."

"So," Callie smiled, "am I going to have to pry you out of your office, or did somebody already turn the lights out on you?"

"I'm in the fossil lab." Abi chuckled. "A fascinating load came in from the badlands. I think there's a Sharitaur skull in here."

"Uhm, yeah," Callie said slowly, not really bothering to hide the fact that she stopped understanding her friend after the word 'badlands', before she gave a short laugh. "I'll be there in a few minutes, okay? Have a few things in the modern day I'd like to talk to you about tonight."

"Uh, sure, Callie." Abi sounded startled. "I didn't realize it was that late yet."

"Didn't think you would," Callie chuckled. "You're worse than a kit on Bastet's Day when something new comes in. I'll be there soon; give you a little time to put your new toys away."

"I'll be ready." Abi chuckled. "It's not like you're one to talk about getting buried in your work."

"Yeah, but your work isn't going to scream at you about needing more funding yesterday," Callie teased, "just the people who find it for you."

"I'm the one that does the 'more funding' screaming," Abi groused with a laugh. "If we had decent funding, I wouldn't be doing all the work myself."

"Oh as if you don't love having an excuse to be around that place," Callie said, rolling her eyes as she laughed. "Well, if we're going to argue about this, then we should do it in person. So why don't I come down there and we can pick up where we left off?"

"Of course," Abi said amiably. "I'll try to remember to leave the lab coat behind this time."

"See you there, then," Callie said warmly before she hung up and collected her jacket and keys.

"See, I left the coat behind," Abi smirked at the pale furred blonde as she slipped in the passenger side of Callie green sedan.

"So you did," Callie chuckled while she waited for Abi to get buckled in. "So, the usual or in the mood for something new tonight?"

"Let's try something new." The brown shekat grinned. "I have something worth celebrating just a little."

"Oh really," Callie said with a smile. "I hope you realize you're going to give me all the details then," she said, trying to think of somewhere they didn't usually go. "What sort of celebration are we talking about?"

"The kind you glaze over for," Abi chuckled. "It is a Sharitaur skull and it even has the nasal passage intact."

"Ah, that sort. Any place in particular you have in mind then?"

"We haven't gone to Marci's in ages," Abi suggested.

"You're right," Callie nodded as she pulled out, "we haven't."

"So what has lady luck thrown anything your way that doesn't make the news?" The brown shekat asked conversationally with a smirk.

"Oh, the usual -- most of that makes the news, of course," Callie rolled her eyes slightly. "Nothing that makes particularly interesting conversation I'm afraid."

"Too busy to date too?" Abi asked with a resigned chuckle.

"Too busy to date seriously," Callie said, shaking her head slightly. "Though I could probably change that if I really wanted to -- just take a few lessons from Mayor Manx in delegating paperwork."

"Yeah, it just doesn't seem worth it." Abi sighed. "You have to date to find the good ones, but it's hard to want to date without one of them to date."

"Any prospects on your end?"

"None that are realistic." Abi chuckled. "Razor's seriously cute and T-Bone's a hunk and Felina Feral is just plain hot."

"Well, at least you'd know where to call to ask Felina if she was interested," Callie smirked. "Not that I'm about to disagree with any of your opinions, of course. Guess there are advantages to being on the list of people that have to be rescued every few weeks."

Abi laughed at that. "Very true, and you have even better opportunities. Of course, you could ask one out when you're sitting in their lap." She grinned playfully at her friend.

"I suppose that'd work -- at least until the media found out I was dating a SWAT Kat and Feral had me put under surveillance to catch them." Callie rolled her eyes slightly. "Besides, if I'm looking for cute guys, I could always ask one of my mechanics out."

"I really should get out there just so I know who you keep talking about." Abi laughed. "My car just doesn't see that much damage."

"Be glad for that. Mine's in good shape; but it costs an arm and a leg to keep it that way when you're a moving target for every crook bigger than a bread box and some of the smaller ones."

"Well, if you didn't have to keep up a public image, you could have an old tank of a car like mine." She chuckled with a wink. "She's survived three badland expeditions and is no worse the wear for the lack of road."

"Well," Callie chuckled, "there's a difference between needing good shocks and needing armor plate."

"Uh-huh and you think that pyramid four years ago didn't stress the armor plating?" Abi raised an eyebrow. "Or Bermani, Kaluth, Arkan... Want me to go on?"

"Point," Callie conceded. "But it all hinges on that whole 'not needing to keep up a public image' issue anyway, and I think the only person who'd let me get away with it would be Anne Gora."

"Only because she needs one at least as bad as you." Abi laughed. "That shekat gets in so much trouble for her scoop."

"Somehow, I think she'd still get into trouble if she was in a real tank. I swear," Callie chuckled, "some days I've considered telling Feral that if he really wanted to put the SWAT Kats out of business, he'd just have to follow her."

"True, except he'd need rescuing then too." Abi couldn't control her laughter. "And we know he won't arrest them right after they saved his tail."

"I was thinking about how she keeps finding trouble about ten minutes before it becomes a crisis," Callie laughed slightly. "Abi, you okay over there," she asked, turning half an eye towards her friend. "You're usually not quite this cheerful."

"Do I need an excuse to have a fun evening out with my best friend?" She cast a challenging glance at the blonde.

"No, you don't," Callie smiled. "Just remember to breathe while you're laughing, okay?"

"That is something I always remember." Abi retorted with a grin. "It's my subjects that don't breathe."

"Tell that to the things the Past Master's sicced on us," Callie shot back with a teasing grin that belied the seriousness of that situation.

"That doesn't count." Abi made a face. "Though I understand MegaKat City Zoo is thrilled with their new exhibits. Between the sabertooth and dinos, they have quite a tourist attraction going with the new display."

"You ever manage to talk them into giving the museum some of the profits?" Callie asked. "After all, you're still the ones who found them."

"Yep," Abi smirked. "I threatened to claim them as the rightful property of the Museum since they are on the list of extinct animals."

"Oh, I'll bet they loved that," Callie chuckled. "Though I don't know that I'd want to try that case in court -- endangered might be hard to define, but extinct is pretty easy."

"Yes, but considering the sabertooth is museum property, at least that one they would have lost."

"True," Callie nodded. "I'll bet that helps the funding though -- they're the biggest hits the zoo has, even after being there this long."

"It's a godsend." Abi nodded and relaxed back in the seat. "And it's money that goes directly into the special projects fund."

"Good," Callie said. "I know you need everything you can get."

"Though don't pretend your budget is any better." Abi shook her head. "You'd think with this many taxpayers it wouldn't be so tight."

"Between repairs and everything else, it's amazing how fast the money disappears. Especially with Manx trying to cut taxes back every election year. Might be other things going on, but..." Callie shrugged as she trailed off.

"Yeah, I know." Abi nodded quietly. "Seems you can't get away from that."

"It's politics," Callie shrugged again. "I swear, I could go to work as a lawyer, make more money, and work with people with higher ethical standards. But I'd be doing less good in the process."

"Yeah, I know the feeling." Abi nodded. "Though no one goes into archeology or paleontology for the money."

"Certainly not working with a museum," Callie agreed. "Though I'm sure some of the same people who keep Manx in office would be happy to pay a fortune for first dibs on some of what you find. I'm just glad you're a better person than that," she finished sincerely.

"I don't count corruption." She growled softly.

"I didn't mean while you were working for the museum, Abi," Callie said quickly. "I've heard of a few people who went private, found things to sell to collectors, that's all."

"Oh, them." The brown shekat nodded. "Yes, some of them do very well for themselves; but then it's all lost to science and Katkind, locked away in a private collection."

"That's what I meant," Callie said. "Corruption isn't viable income, which a few wardens I could have named needed to learn."

"And I bet you're adding to that number faster than any city leader in history." Abi chuckled. "You know, next time you have a moment with Razor and T-Bone, do you think you could ask them to drop by the museum and see me? I'd really like to pick their brains about what was on the other side of those PastMaster portals they've been through."

"Well, I'm usually a little busy being glad that I didn't just wind up becoming a widow and a wife at the same time when the Past Master's involved," Callie said, rolling her eyes. "But I'll try to keep it in mind."

"Well, sometimes when you're around them things aren't quite so dramatic."

"Well, it usually does involve something exploding," Callie chuckled. "Like I said, I'll try to remember."

"And so will I; you just seem to see them a lot more than I do." Abi chuckled. "Or invite them to dinner. I seem to remember you're one hell of a cook when you feel like it."

"Thanks," Callie chuckled. "Though it'd be a pretty strange scene, don't you think? Having dinner with a couple of toms in masks and flight suits?"

"In this city?" Abi chuckled. "What isn't strange?"

"Two friends, going out to have dinner together and talking about whatever comes to mind?" Callie asked with a chuckle.

"Even if the subjects are." She chuckled softly.

"Hey, I'm sure we could have stranger conversations. You have to wonder what Razor and T-Bone spend their time talking about."

"Each other, with our luck." Abi chuckled with a grimace.

"Oh, I don't know," she snickered. "I'd say it's a nice enough image, especially if they were up for company."

"It definitely works for a late night fantasy for lonely hands." Abi purred. "Those two all hot and sweaty together."

"Oh, yes," Callie said with a purr of her own, despite a slight blush. "Very few toms I'd be more interested in seeing that way, for that matter."

Abi joined her friend in blushing, with a giggle utterly at odds with her age and professional status. "If you promise to keep it a secret, I'll show you something I bribed an artist friend of mine into doing."

"Oh really?" Callie asked, fighting an urge to look at Abi in her curiosity. "Well, you know I can keep a secret."

"It was worth every penny too," Abi rumbled hotly. "Even if I can never hang it up outside my bedroom."

"You know," Callie half-joked, "at this rate, I'm going to take you home to take a look at it before we even manage to get to the restaurant."

The medium brown shekat blushed brightly under her fur. "Unless you feel like joining me in bed, we might not want to do that. I never manage to keep my mind on business looking at it."

"Well," Callie blinking in surprise for a moment. "Can't honestly say I'd mind," she said quietly.

That floored Abi, silencing the brown shekat for a long moment. "You're ... joking?"

"Were you?" Callie asked, kicking herself mentally for not considering that possibility.

"Um, no."

"Neither was I," Callie said with a nervous smile.

"Since when?" Abi asked quietly.

"Not sure," Callie admitted. "By the time I realized it, I didn't want to push being friends too far."

"So ... casual fling type interest or dating type interest?" Abi asked quietly.

"I'd prefer to try something serious, but if you were only interested in a more casual thing..." Callie trailed off, thinking for a moment. "I wouldn't turn you down," she said after a moment.

"I think we need to talk over dinner," Abi said quietly. "We've been friends a long time."

"Yeah," Callie nodded quietly. "Yeah, we have."

Cost of Living 1: Act of Practicality

Het Level is None
Slash Level is
Femslash Level is High
Herm Level is None

15 KB, Story is Complete, Series is Finished
Written February 21, 2003 by Rauhnee Ranshanka and Karl Wolfemann

Setting: SWAT Kats

Primary Races: Kat

Contents: Furry. Femslash (F/F).

Pairings: Callie Briggs/Abi Sinian

Notes: originally published in The Love of a Woman by AngelWings Press. AWP has since become Requiem, and the zine (The Love of a Woman) is still available under multifandom.

This series does tie into Forced Relocation, though only in passing.

Blurb: Callie has some ulterior motives when she chooses someone to try and apartment share with, but little does she realize how fast a playful conversation before dinner leads to other things.

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.

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