Disclaimer- The SWAT Kats don't belong to me. They belong to Ted Turner and various other corporate entities. Too bad; I'd love a plushie Razor. This short is rated G by the Motion Picture Association of America.

First, Last, and Always

It was another beautiful day in Megakat City. The sky was blue, the sun was shining, and the smog count was relatively low. The afternoon was absolutely gorgeous, a fitting backdrop for Ulysses Feral's mood. He'd just made Captain, and rumor had it that he was on the short list to be picked for Lieutenant Commander when the position opened up. From there, it was more than likely that he'd be in line for the Commander's position one day. The young kat grinned as he got out of his car. Commander of the Enforcers-- then he could REALLY get things done.

With a spring in his step, he climbed the stairs up to his apartment. By the time he got his keys out of his uniform pocket, he was whistling. Nothing could possibly spoil a day like this. Unlocking the door, he pushed it open.

And stopped dead, staring in utter disbelief. The walls and shelves were half-emptied, sporting bare patches where pictures and books had once been. And in the center of the main room, methodically placing pieces of bric-a-brac in a large carton, was a tall, slim she-kat.

"Carolyn?" Feral asked, as she turned towards him, alerted by the opening door. "What's going on here?"

"Isn't it obvious?" she asked, brushing a strand of brown hair out of her blue eyes. "I'm moving out."

Shutting the door behind him, the young Enforcer moved to join her beside the couch. "I can see that. Why?"

"You got another promotion, didn't you?"

He was momentarily thrown by her seemingly irrelevant response, but answered. "Yes, Captain. But why--"

She began to speak even before he'd finished, overriding his question. "That makes you-- what, a Captain now? At twenty-eight? That makes you one of the youngest Enforcer Captains on record."

"I suppose so." He blinked. "I don't see what's bothering you about this. You knew I was an Enforcer when we first met."

"You just keep climbing the ladder, Ulysses. Promotion after promotion, higher and higher. You're running though the ranks like a kat possessed, and they just keep coming."

"I'm good at my job, and I love it. Carolyn, I don't see what the problem is here."

"No, you don't, do you?" She smiled wanly. "If it were just dedication, I suppose it wouldn't bother me. If it were just ambition, I don't think I ever would have fallen in love with you. But it's more than that.

"You're a control freak, Ulysses. It's a harsh term, but it's the truth. You like to be able to arrange the world around you to your liking, to suit your needs. And every step up the Enforcer ladder lets you do that. A little more power, a little more control. The job doesn't throw you any curve balls, does it? You know what it's going to ask, and you don't have to worry about any unexpected surprises."

She brushed past him to reach for another picture frame, and he caught her arm gently. "Is that what this is about? I'm too controlling? Have I ever tried ordering you around?"

"You'd lose your whiskers if you tried that, and we both know it," she replied, not without some humor. "No, I'm the one thing in your life that you CAN'T control, and you're smart enough not to try. But at the same time, that means you won't- or can't open up to me. Especially when the person you control most rigidly is yourself." She shrugged. "I guess I got tired of loving someone whose emotions were always under glass."

"Carolyn..." he trailed off, suddenly lost for words.

"See? You're doing it now. Stone-Face Feral. Good for the Enforcer rookies-- not so good for your girlfriend. If you could yell, or scream, or cry, I might not walk away. But you just can't, can you?" For a second, she fell silent, then shook herself out of her reverie. "At least you're honest enough not to promise that you'll change."

He didn't respond to that; him changing was unlikely at best, and they both knew it. "I do love you," he managed at last.

She smiled, but only weakly. "I never doubted it," she replied, sealing the box shut. "Unfortunately, it's not enough.

Straightening, she cast a long look around the room. Picking up the box, she started for the door. As she reached it, she stopped and turned back around.

"You'd better learn to roll with the punches, Ulysses, because sooner or later, something's going to come along that won't fall into line when you growl. Either you learn to handle the occasional x-factor, or you're going to worry yourself into an ulcer." She laughed humorlessly. "I'd worry about you, but I know you'll be all right. You'll have the job, after all. And you're an Enforcer; first, last, and always." Then she was gone, and the door clicked shut behind her.