Forced Relocation 9:
Claws of the Past

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

Jake came around a junk heap in the salvage yard to see Chance at a distance talking with a Kat in a very distinctive black and red uniform. What was really distinctive was the gold block lettering on the back of the uniform jacket: C.L.A.W.S. The Kat appeared to get frustrated, and shoved a paper at Chance before taking off, disappearing quickly among the piles. The tabby stood for a while, not moving as he opened the piece of paper and looked at it.

Jake quietly walked up besides Chance, not at all liking the way this looked. "What's up, buddy," he asked quietly, trying to look at the paper.

"Trouble." Chance muttered softly.

"As in we're screwed trouble, or as in you'd rather go swimming in Viper's stew again trouble?" the cinnamon tom asked, thinking fast as he tried to figure out how to avoid this turning into the serious issue it was looking like.

"As in Feral knows who we really are trouble." He said quietly.

"Crud. I'm assuming the CLAWS agent's here to get the proof he needs?"

"No, Feral wants to talk to me." He sighed. "And he only trusts CLAWS enough to relay the message. They won't act without his okay, and what they know, doesn't get to anybody else without his authorization."

"Any idea why he wants to talk to you," Jake asked quietly, with a slight frown. At least they weren't being thrown into a cell yet.

"Probably the same reason he's tried to talk to me for the last seven years." He muttered softly.

"I'm guessing you know how to read that note, then?"

"It's CLAWS personal code. Not as secure as the official code, but it'll frustrate most people." He nodded. "It just says what I've told you. And explains how Feral knows who I really am."

"Thought to bring the MetalliKats back on line," Jake asked, thinking about who knew who they were, and discarding most of the options that came to mind out of hand.

"Has nothing to with anyone but me and him." Chance said, sitting down on the hood of a scrapped patrol car.

"Okay," Jake said after a long moment, concealing his surprise at Chance's statement fairly well. "Just figured that if somebody knew who we were that we didn't know about before this, it might be a good idea to find out who. Are you going to go talk to him, then?"

"It wasn't exactly a request." He shook his head. "Jake, I know you went to college before you joined the Enforcers. But I've never said much about why I did between high school and the Enforcers." He said quietly, clearly working himself up to something.

"Chance," Jake said softly, sitting down next to the tabby and putting an arm around his shoulder, "I don't think you could tell me anything that'd freak me out. We've all done a few things we'd rather not talk about."

"I was kind of an unofficial member of CLAWS, among other things I did." He said quietly. "Team mascot you might say. I was also Feral's playmate for about five years." He added softly.

"Feral wanted me to be on CLAWS officially, but I had to be a commissioned Enforcer for that. And he didn't cut me any breaks on that either." Chance said quietly. "He just didn't figure on me getting into the pilot/gunner program; didn't think I'd be able to accept a gunner."

"So how'd you end up a pilot with the rest of us?" Jake asked with a weak chuckle.

"I don't know." Chance said quietly. "I haven't spoken to him since I told him I wasn't going to be his playmate anymore. That was two weeks before we got booted." He finished softly.

"That's even lower than I thought Feral'd go," Jake growled slightly.

"It was by the book though." Chance sighed. "We just left him an opening. Guess I misread how much I hurt him."

Jake bit back his first response, the second one coming up just before he said it. "You still like him?"

Chance nodded very reluctantly. "He was good to me, but at the time I couldn't figure out how to balance the time he wanted from me, with the time I wanted to spend with you. And you were more important to me, still are."

"Chance, he can't get everything he wants. He'll just have to learn that," Jake said, hugging his mate a little protectively. "Don't do anything you'll regret when you talk to him, all right? We'll find some way around it that doesn't involve that."

"Jake, he's not going to blackmail me into going back to him." Chance said a little defensively. "If I don't come back on my own, he's not interested. Blackmailing someone into sex is no different from rape, as far as he's concerned."

"Sorry - I just don't like the way things are looking now. SWAT's gotta fly, and he's in a very good position to keep it from doing that, if he hasn't been bluffing for three-quarters of the screaming he's done about us."

"I know." Chance said quietly. "I don't know what he's up to, and that worries me."

"Too bad there's no real chance he just wants to give you our back paychecks for the last seven years," Jake chuckled grimly, trying to make a weak joke.

"He's devious enough to do just that." Chance chuckled weakly. "Though I'm sure there'd be a catch or three."

"Probably change the things that make us work as well as we do, with our luck," Jake frowned.

"Maybe, I'm sure it'd mean answering to him again." Chance shook his head. "I'm not sure I want to again. I kind of like being independent, even if the pay sucks."

"There's gotta be some way to stay independent - or at least have somebody a little easier to get along with to answer to," Jake frowned. "Maybe now that the cat's out of the bag, we should try finding somebody a little easier to put up with to come out to."

"We need somebody who outranks Feral, and there's only two people like that in the whole city." Chance said quietly. "Callie and Manx."

"I'd prefer answering to Callie to answering to Feral," Jake pointed out. "She's a hell of a lot less likely to try and stop us from doing our job."

"More likely to trust that we know what we're doing." Chance agreed.

"So, you go talk to Feral, I get Callie out here somehow? I'm sure I can come up with something that'd get her out here quick. I'd rather not leave Ebon alone too long, with what happened yesterday. A relapse of that would be the wrong time for both of us to be somewhere else."

"Definitely, and I'll try not to be gone too long." Chance nodded.

Jake squeezed the buff tabby affectionately, trying to seem more confident that everything would work out than he really was. "Just make sure you don't piss him off badly enough that I have to make bail, okay buddy?"

"Just don't get pissed if I come back smelling of sex." Chance said quietly. "I still feel something for him, and I don't know what'll happen if it's just the two of us. I've avoided that since I broke up with him." He said hugging his mate tight.

Jake shook his head slightly. "Only way I'd be pissed was if you came back smelling of sex, and you didn't want it. And I'd be pissed at him, not you."

"He's not like that, love." Chance said quietly. "He's many things, but he's a rapist's worst nightmare."

"Wonder what he did with Hard Drive then," Jake mused quietly. "Probably not half what he deserves."

"I wouldn't be so sure." Chance shook his head. "I've heard rumors about what he's been known to do with rapists. Let's just say advanced BDSM is just where he starts."

"It's a start, then," Jake said with a slight frown. "I don't know, though, for all that I can see him doing, I just can't see him trying to mess with somebody as badly as Hard Drive did."

"If he's got any idea just what Hard Drive did, he'll make sure the bastard gets that much." He said quietly. "And he's quite capable of it too."

"Good," Jake muttered. "Not sure if Ebon'd want to know, but it's good to know that the bastard's getting some of what he deserves."

"Yeah, he'll be begging to go to prison." Chance said darkly. "And I don't think it' a good time to tell Ebon. Maybe later, after he's recovered, if at all."

"That's what I'd meant," Jake nodded. "I don't know that he's quite as interested in payback as we are, even without the way it's hitting him now."

"I don't know that he's actually thought about it." Chance shrugged. "He's had a lot to keep his mind occupied."

"No kidding," Jake sighed. "Hope that whatever decided to grab him doesn't try it again - going through that once has to be bad enough without worrying about it happening again."

"Yeah, though I think that's a concern we don't need to voice near him. Even if he probably has thought it himself."

"Right. Not something he needs to think about any more than he already might be. Think I'll avoid mentioning the bit about Feral knowing who we are for the time being, too."

"Yeah, good thinking." Chance agreed.

"Any idea when you'll be back from talking with him?" Jake asked quietly.

"Wish I knew." Chance shook his head. "Depends what he wants to talk about and what else happens."

"Guess you'd better get going then," Jake said quietly, leaning over and up to kiss the tabby on the cheek. "Just be careful, okay? After all, he'd be within his rights to have you thrown in a cell if he was in the mood."

"Yeah, he would." Chance nodded, as he turned to pull Jake into a more intimate kiss. "But that isn't the impression I got from Sunblade."

"Probably better get going, before we get distracted," Jake smirked slightly, his expression more cheerful than his tone.

"Yeah, guess so." Chance said, giving the distinct impression he'd rather be distracted, as he headed for the garage to get his motorcycle.

Jake worked walked down into the hangar, a slightly worried frown on his face. "Ebon? Are you down here?" He didn't really expect an answer - he'd asked the question a dozen times already at least. But he didn't like the fact that he couldn't find the black tom anywhere yet. Maybe in the back somewhere....

After several unused rooms worth of searching he finally spotted Ebon in a dimly lit room. He was curled on his rump in a corner, scribbling in one of his writing notebooks, two others at his side just off the beanbag bed that usually lived in his room.

Jake nodded slightly as he spotted the black tom. "Ebon," he asked, trying to get his attention, "you need anything?"

"Hu?" He started, visibly disoriented for a moment before he placed where he was and who was talking to him. "No thanks, I'm fine." He looked up at the cinnamon tom in the doorway with something that both Kats had learned early on was his attempt to be friendly when he didn't feel like it.

"Okay," Jake nodded. "Might be taking the Turbokat out later, so I wouldn't worry if you hear anything in the main hangar."

"Okay," he nodded and kept his focus on Jake with the tension of wanting to be doing something else.

"See you later, Ebon," Jake said, turning to head back upstairs as Ebon turned back to his work. Once there, he picked up the phone and dialed City Hall.

"City Hall, how may I direct your call?" A pert female voice answered.

"I'd like to speak to Deputy Mayor Briggs, please," Jake said, trying to keep his tone of voice calm.

"She's not in at the moment. May I take a message?"

"Yes, please. Could you ask her to call Megacat Salvage Yard as soon as she gets the chance? She was in for a few repairs recently, we just want to see how well they're holding up."

"Of course." She answered pleasantly as she wrote it down. "The phone number?"

"528-555-5865," he said, pausing to let her get them down between blocks. "Thank you."

"You're welcome. Have a good day." The Collie said brightly and hung up. Jake did the same, then gave a slightly exasperated sigh before picking up the phone book. Maybe her home number was listed?

He was still looking when he heard a car pull in. He set the book off to the side and went to the front room, hoping it was something simple. He offered a silent 'thank you' to any powers that were listening when he saw that it was Callie's car, and abruptly wondered if he should take it back when he saw the serious unease of her expression.

"Hi, Jake." The blond shekat waved at him as she got out. "Is Chance around?"

"I'm afraid not, Miss Briggs. Actually, I need to talk to you about the reason. Want to come inside?"

"Sure," she nodded easily, though she looked even more disturbed under the surface. "Ebon is okay?"

"Physically, yeah," Jake nodded holding the door for her. "He's working through some issues, though, so he's not really out and about that much. Is there something wrong?"

"I hope not." She said softly as he closed the door behind them. "I'm probably just jumping to conclusions."

"About? No problems with Ebon, I hope," he said.

"No, no, his paperwork is going quite well, though I will need to actually talk to him to get the rest finished." She shook her head slightly. "I came by because I found something out, that's going to be very important to you and Chance. Your ... other job ... isn't as secret as you probably think." She said quietly.

"We've been finding that out lately," Jake said with a frown. "Feral told you?"

The startled look that danced across her sea-green eyes was answer enough. "No, a friend of mine had a few portraits done for her own collection by a forensic artist. A few minor details are off, but there's no mistaking who's in them, with and without masks." She explained quietly. "She didn't recognize you, but she isn't a customer here."

"Crud. We just found out that Feral figured out who we were today. Chance didn't explain how, but they're talking now. Honestly, I was just trying to get hold of you now."

"Does Ebon know about you?" Callie asked softly.

"Yeah. Confronted us about it after we took care of that sludge slug. But he's not going to be telling anybody, and I have a feeling we could trust any of your friends."

"You can." She nodded quickly. "She's as much a fan as I am. The city needs you two. Feral, I'm not so sure about him. Did you have any ideas? Was that why you called me?"

"Thanks for the vote of confidence. Chance wasn't sure why Feral wanted to talk to him, but he thought that Feral might have wanted us to start working under his command. Apparently the two of them have some history I didn't know about," Jake said with a slight shrug. "We were talking about it, and decided that if we're going to have to answer to somebody to keep doing what we have to, we'd rather answer to you."

A slight smile crossed Callie's face. "Not too difficult, though I can't offer much by way of support from the city." She grumbled slightly. "But you won't have do mechanic work for a living at least."

"We've been doing fairly well so far, and that was with having to split our time," Jake pointed out. "Any idea what sort of changes we'd have to make in how we run things?"

"That depends a little on how much I can get under Manx's nose, and how much Feral screams about it." She sighed. "But worst case scenario would involve working out of Enforcer Headquarters, even if you aren't under Feral."

"I think Feral'd pass a brick if that wound up happening," Jake smirked. "This place has a lot of advantages, really, but we can do without most of them."

"I bet." She chuckled with a grin. "The only problem with you staying here is that the city would have to find another salvage yard. It's really the only part I haven't worked out yet."

"Unless you have somebody come out here to take over the mechanic end of things," Jake admitted. "But there shouldn't be many problems with hauling the Enforcer's dead birds out here. Hell, half the gear we use came from things the Enforcers had shipped out here. The rest of it came when I mixed that in with the proper household waste. Think the only thing I haven't used is a kitchen sink."

"Oh, then we don't have any worries." Callie laughed brightly. "The mechanic job isn't required, just the place to dump dead Enforcer gear. If you can still handle that, then there's no reason you can't stay here."

"While I have to admit that having parts that I don't have to fix before I build them into something is appealing," Jake chuckled, "it'd be kinda rough having to move out of here. Especially since we've got everything we need set up already."

"Well, I might be able to wrangle some of that out of the companies you save." She grinned conspiratorially. "After all, what's a few hundred thousand in parts to defense compared to several billion in lost facilities?"

"Well, I wouldn't try using a running tally too much with some of them. Pumadyne's still got a few prototypes that sorta got trashed in the process."

"It's still a hell of a lot less than couldhave been lost. Like their entire market." She chuckled. "No promises, but I think I can wrangle a few things."

"Certainly won't hurt," he smiled. "So it's a matter of running the paperwork before we can stop worrying about what Feral might try doing to us?"

"That's about it." She nodded. "The preliminary copy is in my car." She smiled at him. "I just need your signatures, and make a few additions before seeing to Manx."

"I don't know when Chance'll be back," Jake admitted. "Or if he'll be up for signing it when he does get back."

"Feral wouldn't ..."

"Might try arresting him, but that's the only thing he'd do if Chance didn't want it," Jake said softly. "At least according to Chance. I just don't know if Chance is going to want to think about this when he gets back."

"All right." She nodded despite her intense curiosity. "I'll leave the drafts here for you two to look over in the next couple days."

"Thanks," he said, relaxing a little bit now that the problem with Feral was almost dealt with; at least as much as it could be. "You said a friend of yours almost knows who we are; mind if I ask who?"

"No, she wants to meet you without the masks anyway." Callie chuckled. "Though you do know her. Abi Sinnian."

"Definitely somebody we can trust. Though I'm kind of surprised she'd go to those lengths to get a few pictures," he smirked. "Would you like to sit down for a bit, or do you have somewhere to be?"

"You haven't seen the pictures yet." Callie purred. "Sure, I can stay for a while. Though she'll skin me if I stay gone too long."

Jake blushed slightly as he imagined what the pictures were probably of, but overcame it quickly enough. "Well, if you'd rather head out - hold on, since when did Abi try to skin you for being behind schedule?" he asked, suddenly realizing what she'd just said.

"Since we're moving into a house together." She chuckled. "It's quite a bit nicer than either of us can afford on our own."

"Well, congratulations on the move," Jake smiled. "Sounds like we're all moving up in the world, in one way or another."

"Yes, we were both hoping you'd come by some evening for dinner."

"Once the changes with SWAT are a bit more fixed, and Ebon's doing better, I think I could talk a certain tabby into paying a visit," he smiled.

"Just promise him a home cooked dinner," Callie chuckled. "And after dinner games, if you're game."

"Between those two, you'll be lucky if he doesn't break the sound barrier on the way over - without the Turbokat," Jake smirked.

"Good. Wait till you see the paintings Abi has in the bedroom."

"If Chance is in them, the artist would have had to be way off if they were anything less than hot," Jake purred. "Though I think we'll be more interested in the company at the time."

"You're in them too, and they are *very* hot." She grinned. "Though if you come by in the next few days, we can probably arrange a special viewing for a couple strong toms."

"I'll talk to Chance when he gets back," Jake grinned, before his expression became a little more serious. "Can't make any promises though - depends on how things go between then and now."

"I understand, believe me." She smiled and patted his shoulder. "Ebon would be welcome too, if he's interested."

"That...I'm really not sure if he'd be interested or not," Jake said after a little thought. "But I'll check with him, after things have calmed down a little. He had a rough first night or two in town, and it's catching up with him now," he continued softly.

"Considering he ended up here, I don't doubt it." She nodded with understanding eyes. "It wouldn't happen to have something to do with a call to the Omega hotline last month that Feral won't talk about? About Hard Drive's lair."

"Yes," Jake said after a long moment to think about it. "Kat's been through hell. Really don't know how much more I should say."

"You don't need to say anything." Callie said gently. "But if he's the type that might find counseling useful, I know a few experts."

"Might be a good idea - I'll ask him if he's interested tonight. Would have mentioned it sooner if we knew any," he said with a slight chuckle, though there was no mirth in the sound.

"If he's not actively suicidal, you've done a pretty good job so far." She smiled reassuringly. "I'll make of a list of the more trustworthy ones in town that deal with intense trauma."

"Thanks," he smiled appreciatively. "You know, you're doing a hell of a lot to help the three of us out, even before you knew who we were. You're definitely one of the good ones."

"Thanks," she smiled back. "You are too, you know. The city needs all of us we can get."

"Guess that means we need to stick together," he said with a nod.

"Like we always have," she extended her hand. "I hope your partner come back in one piece."

"He'd better," Jake said as he shook her hand. "If he's not there's going to be a lot of explaining to do all around. And he'll probably be the one who demands the most painful ones."

"Oh, somehow I rather doubt that." She kissed him on the cheek with a knowing look. "Same as he'd be the most outraged one if it was you."

Jake blushed slightly at the kiss before he answered. "I'd be pissed that he was hurt," he explained quietly, "but if I read him right, Chance'd probably go volcanic if Feral hurt him. Tabby doesn't trust easily, and I sure as hell wouldn't want to be the one to betray his trust once it's given. Probably not going to happen though - he usually trusts people who deserve it."

"He trusts Feral?" She raised an eyebrow. "They could have fooled me."

"They did fool me," Jake admitted with a slight shrug. "But that's how he was talking earlier. He trusted Feral enough to be willing to go on his own, if nothing else."

"Well, keep me appraised, especially if something goes wrong."

"I will," Jake nodded, leaning forward to give her a slightly nervous, but grateful, kiss on the cheek. "I should let you get home now, so you don't get in trouble with Abi," he smirked.

"Oh, the joys of moving a archeologist." She rolled her eyes and turned to her car. "See you soon, I hope."

"We'll call to let you know," he said with a wink as she walked out to her car.

"Jake?" Chance's tired voice called out, as he walked in the front door of the main building.

Jake closed the oven and ran out to the tabby as he heard the door close. "Chance, are you okay?"

"Yeah, sparring got a little over rambunctious though." He chuckled quietly. "Do we have any ice packs cold?"

"Of course," Jake nodded, turning back into the kitchen to grab one of them for the tabby's black eye. "How'd it go?"

"Would you believe that he's been trying to talk to me for the last seven years so he could apologize?" Chance shook his head, and sat down at the kitchen table with the ice pack on his injured eye.

"With great difficulty, I suppose I could," Jake admitted as he sat down across from his mate, where he could keep an eye on the timer on the oven.

"He has." Chance said softly. "He let how hurt he was guide his reactions, not something he does normally. We broke several regs, and he reacted and threw the book at his. Not what he would've done under more rational circumstances. Oh, this is yours." He said slipping a folded slip of paper from his pocket and handing it to Jake."

Jake took a look at the slip, his eyes registering surprise at both the size of the check, and the fact that it was from Feral directly. He put it in his pocket quietly before he spoke again.

"Have to thank him for that next time we see him," he said quietly. "Did he have anything to say about SWAT, or did he just want to take the chance to talk to you?"

"He wants SWAT to become part of CLAWS." Chance said quietly.

"And what do you want? There are other options, Chance, if you'd rather avoid going back. Callie's willing to make us official, for one."

Chance shook his head, and got a cold soda from the fridge. "Don't know." He said quietly, as he opened it. "You ever want something really bad, have it look like it's never gonna happen, and then have it right at your fingertips all of a sudden?" He asked very softly.

"Kind of," Jake said with a nod. "Doesn't quite feel real? Like there's got to be a catch?"

"Yeah, big time." Chance said quietly.

"Much as I hate to say it about somebody you like, I can't help but think you're probably right this time. I may not know much about CLAWS, but I know they answer to him. Right?"

"Him and nobody else." Chance nodded. "But it's a much different rule book."

Jake thought for a moment, considering the various options. "How different from how we've handled things so far? And how likely is he to try messing with us?"

"We'd have to respond to his call-outs, and we'd have to work with the rest of CLAWS on some cases." He said quietly. "We'd also have to keep up with their training regimen as well. Though having the varied combat styles to spar against was a nice change." He smiled softly. "He's not really, but as he pointed out as part of CLAWS we'd have real support."

"I meant how likely is he to mess with us, Chance," Jake said. "You said part of the reason you broke up in the first place was because he wanted more time than you were willing to give - has that changed?"

Chance sighed. "He understands that you're first in my life, and always will be. He'd like to claim some of my time, but he'll settle for what I'll give him. I kind of made it plain that that was the only way I'd even consider it."

Jake nodded quietly. "You want to go back, don't you?"

"It'd be nice to have the back up when things get really hairy." Chance said quietly. "But it's gotta work for both of us, not just me."

"It's a lot of big changes to make pretty fast," Jake admitted. "Been thinking of Feral as the guy who'd lock us away and throw away the key for the past seven years, now we'd be back to him being the Commander."

"Not quite the same way though." Chance said softly. "We can still operate out of here, we'd just have to spend three or four shifts a week working out and training with CLAWS. We both get reinstated as if we'd been on detached assignment for seven years. Feral's even willing to pay Ebon to be base manager, if he's interested."

"What happens if it doesn't work out? Don't think it'd be likely to happen, but if history tries to repeat itself, do we have an out?"

"Yeah, we do." Chance nodded. "Feral's willing to accept that SWAT is worth enough to the city to let us go independent, if that's necessary. But he'd rather have us part of CLAWS."

"Sounds a lot like Callie's offer, except for who we're answering to, and the training parts," Jake said, warming up to the idea. "Did he say what sort of assistance we might be expected to give the rest of CLAWS?" His ears twitched slightly as he heard a very soft, high-pitched wheezing in the direction of the door, and he looked over to see a somewhat stunned Ebon holding a tiny ball of fur against his chest.

"And you believe him?" Ebon's voice was strained from nearby.

"Hi, Ebon." Chance smiled warmly. "Yeah, I believe him. He's never lied to me, at least not that I know of."

"What about everything you told me?" He half-demanded as the furry creature held against his chest squawked in protest to the tightened grip.

Chance sighed. "Sometimes when people break up, they do things and say things about each other that aren't all together true. And after seven years of fighting, I'd even started to believe the things I was saying. Fighting with someone you like sucks." He said quietly.

"Not to change the subject, Chance, but I think we've got an extra dinner guest," he smiled.

"She made me feel better." The black tom said softly.

"He's screwed us over, but never lied to us," Jake admitted. "We're not sure if we're going to go for that option yet, Ebon" he said softly. "Want to come over and talk it out with us, since the choice might affect you too?"

"With dinner?" He looked towards the kitchen, it debatable whether he or his new friend was more hungry.

Wonder if he or she likes pizza?" The tabby smirked.

"I smell chicken." Ebon licked his whickers to a demanding 'Ra-att!' from his new pet.

"Tonight you do," Jake chuckled. "And if you'll give me a few minutes, we'll have gravy to go with the potatoes in with them. Finished moving everything into the oven to keep warm just before Chance got back."

"Even better than pizza." Chance rumbled hungrily.

"Oh, yeah." Ebon grinned and licked his lips as he sat down, not letting go of his new friend as they watched Jake move about.

"Feel free to talk while I'm working on this," Jake chuckled, pulling out a couple jars of chicken-gravy and twisting them open with a slight grunt. "Or put out a little milk for your friend."

"Chicken and water would do better." The tom chuckled and stood, letting the cat down and grabbed a plate and small bowl for water.

Chance chuckled. "Honestly, I'm just exhausted. I wasn't expecting a workout when I went to talk to Uly."

Jake started the gravy heating, and grabbed a hot pad as he opened the oven. "Want to go grab a shower while this is finishing up?" He pulled out a wing carefully, and started stripping some the meat off of it for the small cat.

"Depends on how long it'll be finishing up." Chance smiled.

"It'll have to be alone, or we'll never get down in time." Ebon smirked playfully.

"Ebon's right there," Jake chuckled, the cat batting his leg imperiously when his fingers stopped working on the meat. "Shouldn't take more than five minutes or so, but I can stick it in the oven to keep it warm if you're not down by then."

"Five minutes? I'll take the shower after dinner." Chance smirked, as his stomach rumbled nosily. "Seems to be more interest in dinner."

"Am I the only one who isn't starving?" Jake put the meat down on the plate, and stirred the gravy before reaching back in to pull out a tray with the chicken, and a large bowl with the potatoes.

"Yes." The black tom smirked, kneeling to stroke the tinny cat who was making happy munching noises as she dug in.

"You try a three hour workout with CLAWS and see how hungry you get." Chance chuckled playfully.

"Mind stirring the potatoes, Ebon? Top's probably a little dried out."

"Sure," he nodded and stood to help out.

"Thanks," Jake smiled, pulling a large serving spoon out and putting it into the mashed potatoes as the gravy started steaming slightly. Jake stirred it, and pulled out some butter as he thought about something, and chuckled slightly, catching a curious look from Ebon.

"Okay, buddy. What's so funny?" Chance asked curiously.

"Just occurred to me that anybody who walked in and saw the three of us here would probably think we'd gone domestic," Jake smirked.

"I had the same thought." Ebon chuckled. "And we're all actually dressed too."

Chance chuckled. "Nothing wrong with that, occasionally. We just have to stir things up often enough to keep the impression from sticking."

"Actually, speaking of stirring things up," Jake grinned, turning off the stove and moving the gravy to a cool burner, "we received a group dinner invitation that we should probably talk about once business is out of the way."

"What? Did we go and become socially acceptable at some point? That and domestic in the same week, not a good trend." Chance smirked broadly.

"Maybe dinner-date invitation would have been a better description," Jake smirked as he moved the chicken over to a large plate and brought it to the table. "Ebon, want to grab a few plates while I get the potatoes and gravy over here?"

"Dinner-date?" Ebon asked curiously as he got the plates and silverware.

"What's everybody want to drink?" Chance asked as he stepped in to help, feeling a bit lazy just watching.

"Milk, please." Ebon answered as he set the table.

"Same here," Jake added as he carefully brought the hot bowl and pot over to the table. "Callie was over while you guys were out - along with everything else, she invited us over to dinner at her new place. Seems she and Dr. Sinnian have similar tastes," he smirked.

"Callie and Abi, that's an interesting dinner date to be sure." Chance chuckled as he brought over three cans of milk.

"Who are they?" Ebon asked curiously as they settled in.

"Callie's the Deputy-Mayor - the lady that walked in on us," Jake said with a slight blush. "Abi's curator of the museum, and apparently Callie's new house-mate. Very nice brunette, even in a lab coat."

"So, has Abi figured out who we are under the masks too?" Chance asked with a chuckle as he sat down.

"She's how Callie found out, actually - Callie was on the way out here while I was trying to call her. Apparently she has some very nice pictures a forensics artist did of us, though she doesn't have names to go with the faces yet."

"Wonder if they're as nice as the ones Torgi's done." Chance chuckled softly.

"Well, the three of us have an invitation to come over and find out some time, if we're interested," Jake smirked.

"It certainly sounds like it could be a fun evening." Chance smirked. "Especially since I'm sure Callie's had some new ideas since the show."

Ebon blushed and ducked his head at the reminder, but didn't comment as he ate.

"Well, she didn't mention it - but I think that between the two of them they'll have plenty of ideas, even if we don't suggest any," Jake smirked. "We should probably let them know sometime soon - sounds like Callie's taking some time off for once, could be a good time."

"Well, it's high time." Chance chuckled. "She's as bad as we are about taking time off."

"With just about as much excuse, with Manx in office," Jake said with a slight frown. "Ebon - you want me to make reservations for three, or would you rather sit out?"

The black tom thought about it for a moment, torn by a couple impulses. "Three, I think."

"Okay," Jake smiled, reaching out to put a hand on the black tom's shoulder. "You going to be okay?"

"Yeah," he nodded. "I will be."

"Don't worry, Ebon." Chance said reassuringly. "They're both really nice people."

He smiled over at the tabby. "I believe you, logic just isn't always working with this kind of thing."

"How about some comfort food," Jake smiled, putting some of the chicken on Ebon's plate, "help you think about other things?"

'Ra'tt!' came with sharp claws in Ebon's leg as the cat started to climb into his lap to a tolerant chuckle.

"Still not really feeling like socializing?" Chance asked sympathetically.

"Or comfort something." He grinned at the little feline and scooted his chair back before grabbing her ruff and pulling her up to his lap. "It fluctuates." He said as he gave her a small bit of chicken before taking a bite for himself.

"If you'd like, Callie offered to find a list of counselors she trusted," Jake said softly as he sat down to eat his own dinner. "I didn't say why, but I think she put a few things together on her own."

"I'm not surprised." He murmured. "I'm not up for covering it well yet."

"No problem - it can wait," Jake said reassuringly. "You're new friend there seems to be helping. Have a name for her yet?"

"Brat, at the moment." He snickered, earning a glare from the cat before she went back to trying to scavenge directly from his plate instead of just what she was given, the display earning a chuckle from Jake.

"Just better keep her out of the range of a certain tabby's plate," he smirked with a look at his mate, "she might get caught in the intake."

"Nonsense." Chance chuckled. "She isn't the kind of fur I want in my mouth." He smirked lewdly at the two toms. Ebon just rolled his eyes.

"A three hour workout and you're already hitting on us," Jake chuckled, "sometimes I wonder if you're a machine under all that muscle."

"Nah, just really good endurance." The burly tabby chuckled.

"That's like saying the Turbokat's really fast, Chance," Jake smirked.

"Exactly." Chance smirked back.

Forced Relocation 9: Claws of the Past

Het Level is Low
Slash Level is
Femslash Level is Low
Herm Level is None

39 KB, Story is Complete, Series is Closed-Unfinished
Written August 3, 2002 by Rauhnee Ranshanka, Todd McCall and Karl Wolfemann

Setting: SWAT Kats

Primary Races: Kat

Contents: Furry. Het (M/F). Slash (M/M). Femslash (F/F). Challenge Response, Master/Slave (Consensual), Relationship (Established), Romance

Pairings: Jake Clawson/Chance Furlong, Chance Furlong/Ebon Black, Jake Clawson/Ebon Black, Chance Furlong/Ulysses Feral, Callie Briggs/Abi Sinnian

Notes: CLAWS = Combat Logistics & Advanced Weapon Systems...A group of elite Enforcer commandos answering to, and handpicked by, Ulysses Feral.

This series does tie into Cost of Living, 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.

Blurb: When A CLAWS officer is shoved into Chance's hands, a lot comes out that he'd have preferred to leave undead and in the past. Ulysses Feral is not going to let that happen, though.

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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