Chance and I had had one of those days where there was nothing to do other than fixing the cars we had in the garage. Neither Burke and Murray nor bad guys had decided to show up that day and we were just trying to keep ourselves occupied. Chance had kept his head in the engine compartment of a sweet looking Jaguar all afternoon and I was busy checking up on our budget while sketching new ideas for our Glovatrixes. Then, I heard a motor roaring outside the garage and with Chance busy, I decided to go out and see who it was. It was a motorcyclist who pulled up. I didn't recognise the figure but the reason was clear.
"Sounds like one of your pistons is out of sync." The motorcyclist looked at me through his helmet and I instantly recognised the voice that chuckled as he pulled off his helmet.
"Same old Jake. You always knew your way around an engine." Said the cougar glancing at me.
"Vincent Puma? How you doing?" I said as my old high school friend got off his ride and hugged me, something I wasn't expecting but I returned it.
"Doing good. But I hadn't expected you here. I thought you were an Enforcer." I merely shrugged as I hadn't kept in touch much with Vincent since Chance and I graduated from the Academy.
"Long story. You wanna come in with your bike, so I can take a look at it?" Vincent nodded and smiled
"It's good to see you are alright, despite it all. I was a little worried." I coughed as I felt ... Too much emotion in that last comment.
"What are you? My mother?" "Yeah, umm, Chance? This is Vincent. A friend from my high school years." Chance probably heard the huff Vincent gave
"Friend is all I am, now. Pleasure to meet you Chance. I've heard about you back when Jake was still writing to me from the Academy. Vincent Puma". I didn't see all as I went over to get a couple of cans of milk, but out of the corner of my eye I could see Chance studying Vincent closely as he lifted his head from the engine and greeted him.
"Chance Furlong, and I think Jake has mentioned you a couple of times." He said as he shook paws with Vincent .He sounded strangely ... Threatened but I brushed it off as we didn't usually get many visitors other than Burke, Murray and few random customers.
"My, what a strong hand shake you got there." Vincent said and I saw it as my que to 'save' Chance. Besides, Chance was MY straight friend crush. Not Vincent's personal conversion conquest.
"Leave him alone, Vince. He doesn't swing that way." I said as I handed Vincent and Chance a milk. Vincent merely smiled in that coy way, which I knew meant trouble.
"I'm sorry, Jake. I didn't know you were so possessive over your friend." He said, and I knew I glowing red in my face as Chance looked at me with a questioned look on his.
"I-I'm not possessive... I'm just protective." I stuttered as I went to the office to remove my sketches for the Glovatrix.
"Looks more like possessiveness to me, Jake." Vincent said with a smile in his voice. Damn him for saying something like that in front of Chance when he knew how I felt about him. I had never told Vincent straight out, that I had feelings for Chance but Vincent was a real kat-person. He could really read between the lines in a kat's words and actions and know almost everything about them.
When I returned Vincent and Chance had sat down in the sofa and talking. "So,Vincent. How did you and Jake get to know each other?" Chance asked, seeming to want to know more and I wondered back then why he was so interested.
"Well, Jake was freshman and I was in my second year at our high school and I was openly gay so I half 'n' half took it upon myself to help those that thought or in Jake's case tried to hide who they were." Vincent said as he and Chance looked at me. I felt really uncomfortable as Vincent was going to share our past together with Chance. I know it shouldn't be a problem. I mean, Chance is straight so he shouldn't care that the guy I dated from high school drops in. But still I felt bad about it. Like Vincent would give too many details about our old relationship, even if there wasn't much, really, but Vincent could give up... too private details. So, I decided to put down my milk and go over and work on the motorcycle.
"The quicker I get his bike fixed, the quicker he leaves."
Vincent merely smiled. "Same old Jake." He said before returning to Chance. "Jake was and still is, I see, a shy case, when it comes to being talked about him. I started of confronting him as I could tell he wasn't into she-kats. One thing led to another and since I have a thing for the cute and quiet type we started dating." I listened and half expected Chance to laugh at Vincent calling me cute, something I never really liked, but Chance just seemed to nod and stare at Vincent as I looked back at them.
"So, you guys split up after high school?" Chance asked
"We didn't have the same ambitions in life, so we went our separate ways." I answered as I wiped my paws of oil and walked back in, grabbing my milk and drank it very quickly. I could feel two pair of eyes upon me but I didn't really care.
"Now I have to ask, how did you two end out here?" Vincent asked sensing it was time to change the subject. Chance's reply seemed to show he agreed.
"Well, we got kicked of the force."
Instantly, Vince looked at me in both disbelief and 'I told you' but Chance seemed to pick up the message and spoke again.
"It had nothing to do with Jake." I looked at Chance and began smiling as Chance told Vincent in colourful description and with great enthusiasm how we had been flying and kicking tails and how we had locked onto Dark Kat and were about to take him down.
"So I'm right on his tail, keeping the jet steady for Jake to get a lock on him. He had him in his scope, instantly." Chance said as he stood up and wrapped an arm over my shoulder pulling me into one of our comradely Tom-hugs before he went back to mimicking his control on the control-stick. I kept smiling as I continued the story.
"Yeah, and with Chance's high ace flying, we would have had him, no thanks to Feral." I continued as I looked at Chance who started frowning.
"What did Comm. Feral do?" Vincent of course asked and Chance continued.
"We end up arguing with Feral over the intercom over our tag and he ends up knocking us out of the sky and we crash the jet into the new Enforcer HQ. Of course, Dark Kat gets away, we quit the force but get stuck with the bill on the reconstruction of the Enforcer HQ." Chance finished. Vincent nodded as he then understood our situation here at the Salvage yard. Vincent sighed and then stood abruptly up.
"Well, then I think the only thing decent I can do is invite you guys out for a night on the town. What do ya say?" He stated placing his paws on his hips with a wide grin on his face.
Chance looked at me with a happy smile.
"Could be neat, huh, Jake?" I shook my head
"Not really. What if an emergency shows up?" I said, trying to hint our 24hour job. Chance merely looked at me like I was making an excuse not to go, which I was and for good reason. With Vincent inviting us, it meant we would be going to the gayest bar in all of Megakat City and I didn't know if I should be worried of Vincent making a pass at me... Or Chance. Either way, I felt like we were heading for a trap and it wasn't set by any of our usual bad-guys. Vince's grin grew wider.
"Jake was always afraid of the big cats in the clubs. Never knew if they wanted his tail or the one he wanted". I must have gone pink under my fur as I had gotten red mad at Vince and white with panic.
"Stop reading my mind, Vince! Do you realise how much information you're giving up!?" "That's not how it is!" I blurted out before I tried to regain my composure. "I just don't think we can risk it." Chance huffed as he turned to Vince and said.
"Count us in. Whatever excuse he'll think of, I'll drag him along." I lost my jaw somewhere in the hangar below, because I couldn't believe my ears. Vince on the other paw was laughing before turning to get his motorbike.
"Alright, see you guys at The Quire Queen tonight." Vince stated as he pull his motorbike out of the garage and was about to start it.
"Vincent! A word." I said as he looked back at me. "Just so we're clear. You keep your paws off him." I said glaring at him as I was still mad at what he had said in front of Chance. Vince merely smiled.
"You've really hit hard with him, haven't you?" He looked like he was about to choke when I got surprised by his remark.
"I-I don't know what you're talking about." Vince just grinned as he started the motorbike, because i knew that he knew he was right
"Why not give it a chance...you never know."
"There is no chance, Vince. So I won't risk our friendship, because of my feelings. See you tonight." I said as my face went from shock to gloomy.
Chance looked up at me from the TV. "Why did you say 'yes' to him, Chance? I thought, you wouldn't be caught dead in a gay bar."
"I know, but we haven't been out other than on calls, so I thought, we had earned a break and loosen up. Besides, I have just as much right to be in a gay bar as the next kat." Chance argued back as he went to the fridge to get another milk. I merely shook my head and chuckled.
"Well, it HAS been a long time since we had fun that didn't involve us being the SWAT Kats and kicking tail." "Well, you're probably right." I said as I might as well give up arguing with him.
"Of course I am." Chance said as he returned with his and a second milk, handing it over to me. "Hey, Jake?" He then asked me glancing down at his can before looking up at me with a little nervous expression.
"This here club we're going to. Is there, like, a special dress code or something?" I looked at him with a puzzled look before he continued. "You know, like, are toms required to wear pink shirts or something else which gives off...signals?" I started laughing a little as I tried to imagine Chance in a pink shirt and super shredded trousers, but I quickly shook my head, padding him on his shoulder to reassure him.
"Don't worry, pal. You just dress like you always do. No one is going to make you wear a pink shirt, a tutu or anything else for that matter." Chance seemed very relieved
"That's good. I wouldn't want to send the wrong message to the wrong kats, you know." Chance said looking at me.
"He sure is looking at me. Longer than he usually does. And who would he want to signal in a gay bar?"
The sun was setting over the city and in a few minutes the cab would arrive to pick us up. I was helping Chance straighten out the collar of his light green shirt.
"I can't believe you still haven't figured this out after our time at the Academy." I said to Chance, who merely smiled at me and gave me that look again. That look was one I was never able to place. Maybe he was embarrassed as it started after I had come clean with Chance and we were getting ready for our first Academy ball, so everyone had to wear suits and bowties and we getting ourselves ready.
"So, did you manage to invite Sally to the ball tonight?" I asked Chance, while I was checking out my academy ceremonial uniform, collar and tie sitting perfectly.
"Yeah, I did. She'll be here, thanks to her dad being captain." Chance answered as he was trying to tie his tie on top of his shirt collar. "Did you manage to invite that girl from the Pumadyne security forces?" I nodded.
"Abigail? Yeah, I did. She has managed to get her motorbike fixed so she'll be here too." I smiled as Chance chuckled.
"I can't believe you found a chick who rides a motorcycle." Chance said as he was still struggling with the tie and frankly, I was struggling watching him not straighten things out. The collar on his jacket was overlapping his shirt collar which was being tied down by the tie and he had missed a button on his shirt.
"Aaargh! Why is it so hard to tie this?" Chance groaned. I groaned back as I moved his paws.
"Here, let me." I said as I first untied the tie, straightened the jacket and shirt collar and buttoned it the right way, placed the tie around the back of his neck, and faster than Chance could probably see it, I tied it, flipped down the shirt collar over both the tie and the jacket collar. "There, much better." As I patted Chance on the chest and let my paws rest there. I just looked up at him with a happy smile and Chance just looked at me, for the first time, with that unreadable look. I thought it was amazement at first. It made me flutter and make my body heat up, but then I realised what I had done and what I was doing.
"Oh crud! Chance, I'm sorry. I-I didn't mean to over-step your boundaries." I stutterred as I quickly removed my paws from his chest. "CRUD, what was I thinking. Fondling him like that!"
"Hey, buddy. It's ok. I'm not freaking out or anything." He said as he stepped towards me and placed his paw on my shoulder. I looked up to see if he really wasn't mad but everything was cool. He was smiling but I could see it had been strange situation to him because his cheeks were pink under the fur. I half-asked
"No one has helped you get dressed..."
"...Since my mother tried, when I was a kitten." Chance finished. I smiled. I was relieved that Chance hadn't taken it the wrong way. That he had seen it like a mother and not take it as an advance from my side.
"Well, I expect you to learn how to straighten your shirt, young Kat." I said, putting on my best 'old mother' imitation, while mockingly poking his chest. Chance looked at me in playful horror but soon started to chuckle. "Man, I just love the way he chuckles."
"I think our cab is here." I said to Chance as I checked him over for the last time. He nodded and we left the garage to spend a night on the town and one I would never forget.
This is the longest flashback chapter, with a flashback in the flashback ^_^ and it is not over yet. Not for Jake or Chance as Vincent has wicked plans for them.