Death Comes Not Here 2:
Trees of Memory

by Fur and Fantasy
PG-13 for M/F and Violence
full contents and notes located at the bottom of the file

"Looking for anything in particular?" Jake's tone was distinctly amused as he came into his library to find Abi snooping around in fascination at books older the known civilization.

"Hmm?" The brown-furred she-kat looked over at him from one of the shelves. "Oh, not really," she chuckled. "Just seeing what you've got here, mostly - after all, what's the good of being a kit in a candy store if you don't know where the good stuff is?"

"Very little," he chuckled and drew her into a loose embrace against his chest. "You'll probably have more luck understanding the other side." He nuzzled her and pointed to the part of the library that wasn't as well filled in. "I organized them chronologically."

"You're probably right," she smiled, nuzzling him back. "Somehow though, I seem to be getting slightly distracted."

"Mmm, yes, and you have no need to hurry to learn it all." He chuckled softly.

"So," she purred, "did you just come down here to distract me, or is there something we need to be doing that I'm not aware of?"

"Neither," Jake chuckled softly next to her ear. "Kari mentioned you were rummaging around in here. I thought you might appreciate a pointer to the books in a language that's still known to exist."

"Mmm, but that takes all the challenge out of it," she said with a playful pout, turning to kiss his cheek. "Next thing you know, you'll be telling me to start with the languages I actually know."

"If you aren't going to have a translator helping out, it would improve understanding." He chuckled deep in his chest. "Though I image you can get a fair amount out of the illustrations, even the ones from before I was any good at it."

Abi chuckled as she thought about that, and realized that the reason most of the books looked like journals was because they probably were. "So this room has a couple thousand years of your diaries in it? That could be dangerous reading."

"Closer to a couple million," he chuckled with a slight smirk. "Though I doubt you'll be able to figure any of it older than a few thousand out."

"Oh, ye of little faith," she smirked back. "Unless there's no way to trace the languages back through the books, I'll find a way. It might take time, but I'll figure it out eventually, given the chance. But I think you'll wind up re-writing most of the history books by the time I'm finished, if your past lives were anything like as strange as your current ones."

"What I've seen and know would," he nodded seriously. "And the falsehood that is history has to be left largely as it is. There is little to prove what I know, short of pointing out that I was there, or I know, or was, whoever is in question. And I'll teach you the other mortal languages, in time."

"There is that point, true," she nodded. "I wasn't really thinking of making any of it public. It's just a matter of wanting to know the truth myself. It's kind of mind-boggling, to think of so much I've been working with for my entire career could be so far off base."

"Well, the little bits and pieces you have do rather well for guesswork." Jake murmured softly and kissed her. "It's what's recorded in the commoner history books that has the really big lies in it."

"Which was written by my colleagues and teachers," she sighed slightly, snuggling back against him. "Still, I can see the reason for a lot of it. It'll be interesting to think of what MegaKat City's history will look like, a few hundred years from now."

"Very messy." Jake shook his head. "It's very unlikely the city will survive another century."

"Not without something changing drastically, no," she agreed with a sigh. "And that was before SWAT went down. I just hope it dies when people decide to go elsewhere, instead of violently."

"I've only known that to happen four times with a population greater than five hundred."

"Doesn't keep a girl from hoping," she sighed again. "Still, assuming this part of history holds, there's the possibility that people will start to move out when things start getting too bad. It's better than what could happen if the entire city were destroyed at once."

"If this isn't bad, Abi, nothing will convince them of it." He told her gently. "I've seen burnt earth warzones that didn't get hit this hard."

"And they're just too stubborn to leave, or spread out," she sighed. "It's just screwed up."

"Yes, it is, and they are." He nodded softly and pulled her gently against his chest. "It's something mortals are very good at though, surviving in impossible situations."

"When you've only got so much time, or only think you do, you want to drag it out as long as you can," she nodded, turning around in his arms to hug him herself.

"I know," Jake murmured into her hair. "I have this bad habit of falling for mortals. It makes me want to too."

"I don't know that I'd call it a bad habit," Abi smiled. "Up until the other day, I figured we both made habits of it."

"Yes, but I know how it's going to end." His face softened with sadness as intense as any she'd seen. "Many of my students don't like to talk to me fore a century or two after the funeral."

"I'm sorry," she said quietly. "I forgot, you've had to watch a lot of them go, haven't you?"

"Two thousand, three hundred and six, including Chance." He murmured painfully.

"I'm sorry," she said, hugging him as supportively as she could as the library fell silent for a very long time while Jake settled his pain back into a manageable level.

"Drinks, my Lords?" A soft female voice broke the tension when things began to get seriously depressed.

"Yes, I think so." Jake murmured and turned to claim one of the thick ceramic mugs from her tray and sipped its fragrant, steaming contents as he regained his composure a bit.

"Are you going to be okay, Jake?" Abi asked quietly, concerned for him as she took a mug for herself and sipped the unusual blend of chocolate and spicy apple cider.

"In time," he nodded, the liquid having a visibly relaxing effect on him as he guided her to one of the blush leather couches in the grand room. "Being in love doesn't require sex being involved." He murmured with another sip and pulled her gently against him. "Knowing it'll end too soon doesn't help much when it's time to say goodbye."

"I didn't realize how much Chance meant to you," she said softly, kissing his cheek gently. "I shouldn't have said that before."

"Said what?" He glanced at her curiously as his breathing finally settled and he began to drink for the taste of the warm, soothing liquid.

"When we were talking about this, the attitude I had." She took another sip of the liquid, relaxing some herself. "I didn't realize how much you were hurting."

"Oh," he murmured, nodding slightly. "I guess I'm holding it together for now. Duty tends to help me focus."

"If you need to let it out once in awhile," she said softly, "I'm here for you."

"Thanks," he managed to smile slightly and pulled her close for a long, silent moment as he settled.

"After everything you've done," Abi said quietly, nuzzling him gently, "and are doing, for me, it's the least I can give back to you."

Jake nodded and nuzzled her, pulling her close to him with a soft sigh as they relaxed into the silence and close contact with the sent and warmth of the chocolate spiced cider in their noses.

Several days and many of Jake's more recent journals later, Abi came out to find him sitting in the gardens. His fur was the brindle of his life as the techno-industrialist Jake Terrimy Kindar, dyed while she was busy in the library. She sat down nearby, watching him perform a tightly controlled but flowing kata with a beautifully crafted sword nearly as tall as he was for a few moments before it ended and he focused his attention on her.

"Mind answering a few questions for me?" She asked as he stepped up, shaking off the foreign martial arts master persona, though still completely relaxed about his nudity.

"Not in the least." Jake smiled softly and settled next to her in the glorious morning sun. "I am your teacher."

"Just wanted to be sure I wasn't interrupting your workout," she smiled softly. "You look incredible doing that, by the way."

"Thank you," he smiled slightly. "What made you curious enough to get out of the library?" He teased her lightly.

"Mostly, I wanted to know more about the four types of immortals you mentioned in your journals."

"Mmm? Oh, it's nothing official, just my shorthand." He chuckled lightly.

"I see," she nodded. "So it's not clans of some sort, just your terms for immortals with particular philosophies?"

"Pretty much," he nodded. "We aren't organized like that, into clans or families. Though some loyalty tends to stay between student and teacher and politics can get complex with how long we live. I've just found most tend to fall into one of those basic patters, and two others you haven't seen yet." He chuckled softly. "I've noticed six in all."

"What are the other two? I've seen warriors, diplomats, defenders, and ones who don't want to get involved - most of whom you don't seem to be too crazy about. The others?"

"There's Trani. The inventors, explorers and scientists like you, and me to a lesser extent. And Sen." His voice softened and gaze went a bit distant. "The ones who can't adapt to what they are. They don't tend to last long."

"Are there many who can't cope?" she asked softly.

"Thankfully not." He let out a slight breath. "Whatever makes us immortal, what powers our healing, is very rarely present in those that can't cope with the concept. Many of them are those who have done fine for centuries or millennia and have had time and events wear them down."

"That would be a problem, yes," she said, nodding slightly. "Good that it doesn't happen often, though it still sounds like it's too often for your tastes."

"Knowing someone for so long, training them to fight and survive and the ways of the world for centuries," he said softly and shook his head. "As painful as it is to loose Chance or a mortal lover, loosing an Immortal one to something I may have been able to prevent ...." his voice trailed off painfully.

Abi reached out and put an arm around him supportively, nuzzling him gently. She didn't really know what to say, but she knew she could do that much for him as he relaxed and let the pain pass again.

"I'm not this mullein normally," he made a strange chuckling sound after a few moments. "Shy's going to have a fit when she finds out I took on a student just after losing someone."

"It's a side of you that probably needs a little more airing out that you give it," Abi said softly, hugging him close. "Who's Shy?"

"One of my oldest surviving students," he smiled fondly. "And as much my opposite as anyone I get along with. More than a few refer to us as 'the old married couple'." He chuckled softly.

"A very old one, I would imagine," Abi chuckled, smirking slightly as she gave him a quick kiss on the cheek that he turned into to make a gently passionate one.

"Yes, very old. Shy was my third student," he murmured with gentle fingers tracing her cheek. "And not one I'm involved with right now. We have a hierarchy of import. Mortal partners, students, other immortals."

"The ones you have the least time with first," she said softly, with a small nod, before returning the kiss with the same passion. "I'm hardly jealous, Jake," she smiled.

"And those that need us the most," he smiled slightly as they parted a bit. "Shy's no doubt biting at the bit to meet you."

"Anything in particular that has to be done before that's okay," she asked curiously.

"The ceremony and enough time that I'm sure you can defend yourself on a basic level. Until I introduce you to the world you are completely off limits for a challenge, and aren't considered one of us yet. It's best equated to the kitten stage. They have extra protections, but limited freedoms."

"All right," she nodded. "It makes sense. Gives the person with the most experience and knowledge of the situation the control over when things start to move normally."

"Something like that," he chuckled. "Mostly it's a protection against those with fewer scruples."

"Are there many who make a career out of preying on the younger ones?"

"Too many, probably more since I haven't been actively hunting them for most of a century." He sighed softly.

"You can only do so much, Jake," Abi said quietly. "It's not too surprising, really, it seems to be a constant among people, no matter what type they are. There are always some who think being stronger makes everybody else meaningless."

"And the other constant, there is always someone stronger, faster, better, than you are." He chuckled dangerously. "Though it's been an admittedly very long time since anyone came close to being able to challenge me."

"Those who are, probably don't want to take the chance that their luck won't hold out throughout the fight," Abi smirked.

"That and they all know me well enough from their student days to know that I never teach all my tricks." He chuckled a bit. "I have to keep some surprises in reserve, after all."

"Well of course," Abi chuckled. "Between the ones you keep back, and the new ones you probably keep coming up with, I'd be surprised if anybody was that suicidal."

"That's the impression I try to remind everyone of," Jake smirked. "It keeps most the challenges at bay, and I like it that way. I may be very good at it, but I lost my taste for killing a long time ago. The rush can be addicting for many younger Immortals though."

Abi shook her head at that, sighing slightly. "That's something I hope I never have to deal with. The idea of enjoying killing anybody just doesn't sit right."

"No addiction is right, Abi." He murmured gently. "And they all hurt. It is a reality though. The rush of taking a Quickening is very addictive. It's something that cools with age, and power. I don't feel it much simply because none who are powerful enough to be near my power fight me. For a new one like you, any kill is an experience little can match."

"I'll have to learn to deal with it then," she said. "I don't suppose you'll have any advice for when the time comes?"

"Honestly, very little. You know it's coming, the most you can do is try not to find it pleasurable. That you don't have a very aggressive personality will help you. Though who have the hardest time are those who find power in other forms attractive. If someone like Dark Kat was immortal, he would be at extremely high risk, even if he did value the lives of others."

"Which he doesn't, except for how they can be used to help him get more power," Abi nodded, shuddering slightly at the thought. "That's the sort of person who shouldn't have as much power as he does, let alone more."

"There are advantages if he was Immortal," Jake sighed softly. "For one, he's really have pissed off several of us by now. For another, I'd have challenged him long ago."

"And you can't do that with a mortal," Abi asked, "or he just wouldn't have to accept?"

"He'd never accept it. As an Immortal, the lure of gaining my power, or anyone of the first few generations, would be more than enough to draw him out."

"He'd never fight fair, though," Abi pointed out. "What are the rules about challenges, aside from sacred places being off limits? Or is that something for later on?"

"It's one on one only, no ranged weapons beyond a throwing knife. Modern body armor is considered poor form, but it's allowed. We'd have a rule about no ambushes, but we can sense each other at a range where it's moot."

"Any rules about having to accept them? Except, of course, for the possibility that they'll go after you anyways if you turn them down?"

"You don't have to accept a challenge, no, the majority conceder it fair game to start a fight once it's been announced, so you'd have to escape. The only thing with an unaccepted challenge is that you can get help from a friend in escaping. And someone can step in and take your place. Sort of a counter-challenge. Generally speaking, if you're challenged, you'll have to fight and kill." He explained gently.

"It's a good thing to know, though," she nodded, accepting it. "As far as making challenges - they don't have to be made, right? It's not necessary to fight another Immortal to sustain yourself, just for defense, and gaining their power?"

"As far as anyone's figured out, no, it's not necessary. It's just common." He nodded and stroked her cheek. "The disadvantage of not fighting very often is that you very quickly loose you skills. It takes a great deal more practice to keep your skills up than it does if you actually use them."

"I understand," she said, nodding. "I should be able to handle it. I just don't like the idea of having to make a career out of it."

"No, no career." He smiled and kissed her gently. "And your first few centuries should be quiet as even the less than honorable hunters steer clear of anything with my name attached to it, be it a territory, mortal or student. Though it makes you more attractive for the really delusional ones that think they can make me throw a fight."

"That's good," she smiled, kissing him back. "And I'm assuming I don't have to tell you not to do that."

"I wouldn't have lasted this long if I was capable of throwing a fight, for any reason." He nodded grimly. "It's simply not in me to surrender."

"It's one of your better features, I've always thought," she smiled at him. "And it's a possibility I'll keep in mind. I don't like the idea of anybody trying to use me against you, now or ever."

"No one has tried in a couple millennia, but it's bound to happen again." Jake sighed softly. "Especially as I start hunting again, and go after Omegas. They don't fight by our rules."

"And with any luck," Abi said quietly, "they won't know enough to know how to kill either of us. Are any of the Omegas Immortals?"

"None that I've gotten close enough to to sense," he shook his head. "But I'm sure there's at least one. The odds are just in it."

"And Murphy's Law dictates that he'll be the first one to try pulling something like that," Abi sighed. "I just hope it's not many. I could see somebody wanting to take advantage of it, though."

"The good part is that anything but a normal challenge invites me to cheat as well." He grinned predatorily. "And I will use whatever resources I have to get things to work the way I want them when it's not an honorable fight to start with."

"This is why I never want to be on your bad side," Abi chuckled, nuzzling him affectionately. He smiled at her for a moment and tipped her face up for a slow, lingering kiss.

"It isn't a good place to be, for anything."

"Especially not when your good side is so much more fun," she purred, kissing him again as his hands moved down her sides to loosen her blouse.

"There is that too." He purred softly and willingly submitted to the interest his body had in her.

Death Comes Not Here 2: Trees of Memory

PG-13 for M/F and Violence
Het Level is Medium
Slash Level is
Femslash Level is None
Herm Level is None

20 KB, Story is Complete, Series is Finished
Written February 28, 2004 by Rauhnee Ranshanka and Karl Wolfemann

Setting: Highlander (generic), SWAT Kats

Primary Races: Kat

Contents: Furry. Het (M/F). Alternate Universe, Death

Pairings: Jake Clawson/Abi Sinnian

Blurb: With her first questions asked, Abi spends some time in Jake's library.

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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