Title: T-Bone Too
To the Dawn's Earliest Light
Author: Kristen Sharpe
Date: May 12, 2007
Rating: K+
Warnings: May contain slightly more than average violence for a children's cartoon.
Disclaimer: "SWAT Kats: The Radical Squadron," its characters and concepts are copyright to Hanna-Barbera Cartoons, Inc and are used without permission.
Author's Note: This is a very, very short wrap up to this installment of the "T-Bone Too" series. But, the story is at a point where, if I continue, the next part that will be as long as what I've already written. So, I decided to wrap up on a high note and pick up the next two major plot threads in Book 3. I always knew that "Dawn"/Book 2 was going to be a sort of bridge story anyways. Its job was to provide the setup for the rest of the story, and I think it's done that. As always, any comments and constructive criticism are welcome.

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Consciousness returned to Razor slowly. At first, it was just sounds, a distant murmur of voices. Then, he became aware of other sensations. The quiver of a rough cot beneath him, the acrid scent of exhaust. Confused, he forced his eyes open.

No sooner were his eyes open than Razor found himself grabbed him up into a surprisingly gentle bearhug.

"T-Bone!"

The big kat held him close for a moment. Then, the tabby pushed Razor away and studied him. His green gaze moved from the bandages on the orange-furred kat's chest to his amber eyes.

Razor forced out a grin to meet the worry in T-Bone's face.

"C'mon, bud... I just have a hole in my chest..."

A single well-defined brow on the less distorted half of T-Bone's face crept up his forehead.

"Well, you had one too!" Razor reached out to poke the big kat.

Drawing away, T-Bone obligingly spread his arms to show off his unbandaged frame.

"It healed."

At this point, Dr. Zyme, who had been watching quietly, finally spoke up. "It seems that your mutations speed the healing process remarkably."

Razor whistled softly. "Incredible."

And, he was grateful to it. Unimaginably grateful. Back in the fight, he had been sure he had lost T-Bone again.

But, he already had lost one T-Bone. One Chance. He couldn't lose another.

Razor struggled to control the turmoil he could feel building inside. His partner was dead. His partner was alive.

At last, he focused on the tiger-striped tom before him. Fumbling in the awkward silence, he fought for the words he wanted to say to this T-Bone. The only one he had. Only they wouldn't come out. In lieu of words, the smaller kat just reached to hug his partner.

It was enough. He had lost one best friend, but he still had this one. And, that was enough.

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"It's done." Hard Drive's voice was flat, his eyes downcast.

Molly Mange's metal face split apart in a horrible parody of a smile. "Let's see 'em."

The emaciated kat nodded and stepped aside with a wave toward the two, dim figures behind him. With heavy steps they came forward. The clank of their metal frames was hidden as best their harried creators could manage beneath layers of specially designed padding and a thin veneer of real fur.

"Awaiting orders," the taller construct intoned, his voice level, but not quite the drone of a machine. There was a curious spark of life to the voice. And, to his brown eyes, which held a genuine interest in his surroundings.

His smaller companion reflected a similar mix of machine and living being as he parroted the first construct's words. His wide blue eyes studied Molly intently behind his SWAT Kat style mask.

Molly's terrible smile widened. "Ya' did good, Hard Drive. Maybe we'll get youse and Conway double portions tonight." She let out a sharp bark of laughter. "Hey, Mac, come and see our SWAT Kats," she called.

Mac abandoned his TV long enough to come and eye the two constructs.

"What're they for? Target practice?" He lifted his arm and retracted the cannon he had had installed. "I could have fun wi' dese."

"Stupid!" Molly smacked his arm aside "These are ta' help us deal with that little rebellion once and for all." She turned back to the two creations. "We'll let 'em think the SWAT Kats have come back to save 'em."

Mac cackled. "Think Feral'll show up to arrest 'em?"

Hard Drive slipped from the room as the robotic couple fell into fits of tinny laughter. Slowly, he let a tiny smile slip across his face. The plan was in motion.

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"Speed it up!" the all-too-familiar, synthesized voice ordered tonelessly. A wash of low-key blaster fire followed, sweeping over the heads of the kats toiling in the smelting room beneath what had once been the MegaKat City Salvage Yard.

High above, Razor turned his head away, wincing. A tear mingled with the sweat dripping from his sodden fur. So, this was what came of his failure. No, he couldn't think like that. Shaking his head, he backed down the ventilation shaft to join T-Bone. His friend was waiting at the opening where a larger shaft intersected the smaller one Razor had taken.

"So, what can we do?"

T-Bone's face was nightmarish. Bathed in the hellish glow from the smelting room, T-Bone's twisted maw more resembled a demon than a kat. Red light glinted off his mouthful of glistening fangs, shone off the saliva again creeping from the corner of his lips. But, his green eyes were soft, concerned. The reminders of the soul trapped in the monstrous body.

Razor ran a hand through his damp cheek fur, resisting the urge to wring the sweat from it. For a minute, he mulled over his answer. Then, his eyes locked into T-Bone's. "I think it's time we fight fire with fire." A fire already seemed to be burning in Razor's normally gentle amber eyes.

T-Bone looked at his friend curiously.

"You know Pawlik had a good idea," Razor returned. "Only we're in a better position to pull it off."

"Huh?" T-Bone's scowl conveyed his confusion.

Razor just grinned and flung a hand out, gesturing grandly. "What do you say? I think we need a weapons making facility of our own. And, this one looks good."

A wide grin stretched across T-Bone's face as he realized what Razor was saying. Smirking, he offered a fist to punch.

Two hands met; two wills reaffirmed their shared goal.

The End... of Book 2

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Musical Inspirations:
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The Echoing Green Self-titled Album
"Opening - Unmei no Tobira Akareru Koku" by Toshihiko Sakaki & the London Symphony Orchestra (Symphony Seed Destiny)