Hello everyone! Are you ready for part 2 of Mad Love?
Madkat turns a corporation's boring dinner into Felina's worst nightmare.
Author's Notes: Once again I'm having a blast writing this. Watch for Tarot symbolism to come up, and the start of a very interesting team up.
Special thanks to Kooshmeister and Ericobard for helping me with the plot. Thanks to Ulyferal for taking this monster of a rough chapter and polishing it up.
As always, I enjoy your reviews and critiques, so send them my way.
oOo oOo oOo
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Felina willed herself not to punch the next tom who came up to her.
The Pumadyne dinner was in full swing in the top floor ballroom of the Alpaca Hotel, situated in downtown Megakat City. Music, dancing, the works. All to bring about a more positive opinion of Pumadyne's wares.
Felina finished her meal early and was now mingling with the other guests, doing her best to represent the Enforcers as well as herself. But the toms she met seemed to like staring at her or joke about where she hid her gun.
So much for meeting quality toms, Felina thought. I could be watching the director's cut of Hard Shell right now!
She tried not to sigh as she chatted idly with a group of Pumadyne executives. She needed some air, and the roof was the best place to get it.
Slipping away from the dinner wouldn't cause to much of a problem. She hadn't observed anything illicit, so her fellow officers guarding the event shouldn't have too much trouble. Excusing herself from a group she walked up to the sergeant in charge of protecting the dinner. He saluted her as soon as he saw her.
"I'm going to head up to the roof for some air if anyone asks for me." Felina said, acknowledging his salute. "I won't be long."
Leaving the sergeant, Felina made her way to the ballroom's doors and pushed them open. In her recon of the hotel before the dinner started she had noted there had been a sign indicating the way to the rooftop access door. After walking down the hallway she spotted the sign. After making sure the door wouldn't automatically lock behind her, she opened it, making her slow ascent to the roof.
oOo oOo oOo
Razor landed on the hotel's roof with a light touch, coming up in a crouch. He paused, listening for any movement or noise from any nearby Enforcer patrols.
Nothing. He was clear.
Standing up he retracted the grappling hooks he used to move from rooftop to rooftop to get to the hotel back into his glovatrix. He couldn't believe T-Bone roped him into doing this, especially since he was doing all the work. Sure, he was getting good data from his upgrades, but...
Shaking his head he brought his glovatrix up to his mouth. "I made it T-Bone."
"That was fast," T-Bone's reply sounded distorted, probably coming from the surrounding buildings interfering with the signal.
"It was easy. The hard part comes with sneaking into this dinner." Razor paused. "Tell me why I'm doing this by myself again?"
"Aren't you the infiltration expert?"
"That still doesn't answer the question!"
"Buddy, you can get in and out faster than I can. I know you're dying to try out your glovatrix upgrades since we can't test the cyclotron's just yet."
"I'll owe you a pizza too. Anything you want!"
Razor sighed. Here he was being dragged into yet another T-Bone scheme. At least this one seemed harmless enough, and he could always use some real-world training. He returned his attention back to his glovatrix.
"Fine. I'll do it. But you better add extra mongo peppers to the pizza and cover my escape route. We might have to leave in a hurry."
"You got it!"
Razor killed the connection. He was about to decide the best course of action when he noticed the handle of the roof access door start to turn. He quickly located an air conditioning unit with perfect line of sight to the door and ran to hide behind it. The door finally opened, and Razor was treated to a sight he wasn't expecting. He did a double take.
"Is that..." Razor managed to breathe out. "...Felina?"
Closing the door behind her Felina walked out onto the roof after taking a moment to assess her surroundings. She didn't wear her regular uniform or even a dress uniform, but something entirely unexpected.
Felina's dress was fur tight, outlining every curve of her body. The slit on her dress exposed long and shapely legs. As she stepped out onto the roof, Razor idly pictured exactly where she hid her gun before catching himself.
Stop it Razor, he admonished himself. Fantasizing about the Lieutenant could be bad for your health, especially considering who her uncle is.
He hunched down further behind the unit, hoping she wouldn't discover his hiding place. He didn't trust himself not to say what was exactly on his mind.
oOo oOo oOo
Felina walked out on to the roof. She was sure she heard a noise when she was about to open the door. She cast her eyes to possible hiding spots, wishing she wore something a bit more covered. The wind was wreaking havoc with her dress and she didn't want to become even more exposed.
As she passed an air conditioning unit a very familiar looking shadow appeared before ducking back out of sight. Could it be a certain vigilante?
Only one way to find out.
Felina turned in her heels and faced the unit. Placing her paws on her hips she said, "Are you just going to just stand there and stare?"
Razor emerged from the shadows. "... Hello, Lieutenant."
The smaller SWAT Kat looked a bit sheepish as he walked up to her. She wasn't surprised to see the weapons officer. He seemed to thrive in urban and close quarter combat, so his presence wasn't that unusual. As Razor gave her an appraising look, Felina suddenly felt self-conscious. Why, she wondered. His gaze didn't seem different from the toms at the dinner, but...
"You look lovely tonight," Razor said, breaking into her thoughts.
"Thank you." Felina smiled at him. The rather innocent remark caught Felina somewhat off guard. A tom who acknowledged her presence before asking her about her gun? She noticed the weapons officer fidgeting. "What's wrong?"
"Well," Razor looked a bit chagrined, "I'm having trouble just focusing on your face."
Felina chuckled. "At least you're being honest."
"The reason I'm up here is to escape all the kats who want to know where I'm keeping my gun."
"It's on your leg, though you'd have to carry a smaller caliber weapon." Razor ginned. "I think your main weapon is bit too bulky for a fur tight dress."
"I am the weapons officer." Razor smirked. "I'd asked where on your leg, but I value my nine lives too much."
"Oh, I wouldn't be that extreme." Felina smirked herself. "I'd just ask for dinner first."
"Would you settle for a pizza first with extra mongo peppers? T-Bone owes me one for this little stunt."
"Sounds better than what they're serving here. I'd take it." Felina said, feeling herself enjoy their little chat. "It'll go great with a Hard Shell movie night."
"My favorite! I've seen all the movies." Razor seemed to perk up at the mention of the film. "Unrated or Director's Cut?"
"Director's cut. "Felina smiled at him. "With commentary."
Silence fell between them, making Felina suddenly feel very exposed. It was the unlikeliest of connections she shared with Razor over mongo pepper pizza and Hard Shell, but it was a connection. Something she missed. Razor spoke first after clearing his throat.
"So why are you here Lieutenant?"
"Pumadyne requested an Enforcer representative. I'm here because everyone else is busy, and uncle will owe me a favor. You?"
"T-Bone wants to pilfer an item from this event to show we were here. I'm doing this because I'm the so-called infiltration expert and using this for training."
Felina blinked at him. "Pilfer an item? Why?"
"A very long and complicated story." Razor sighed. "But since you've seen me, it kills that objective."
"At the center table in the ballroom, there a few pens lying around. Only Pumadyne directors use them. That unique enough for you?"
"Could be." Razor eyed her warily. "What's the catch?"
"The ballroom is crawling with Enforcer guards."
"How about a bonus?"
"Maybe, just maybe," Felina smirked, "I'll show you where I keep my gun."
To her surprise, Razor smirked as well. "Then that's all the motivation I need."
Still grinning Felina moved back to the roof access door. Maybe the evening wouldn't be a total waste after all.
oOo oOo oOo
As Felina made her way back to the ballroom she was struck by the sudden silence. When she left to escape leering toms the dinner was in full swing, bustling with activity. Now she heard nothing, Odd.
Sweeping aside the skirt of her gown she pulled her gun from the holster on her leg. Better to be prepared than walk into a trap. Holding her gun low and slightly behind her Felina made her way to the ballroom's double doors. She pressed up against them, straining to hear anything.
She cursed herself for leaving her phone in her clutch. Not only did she not have any way to call her fellow officers, she couldn't contact Razor either. Hoping the SWAT Kat would notice something was amiss when he began his infiltration she pushed open the doors with her free paw and slipped inside.
The ballroom was empty, as if everyone decided to leave all at once. Bringing her gun up she began sweeping the room, keeping her back against something solid. Whatever happened here wasn't good and she needed to report it. Felina spotted her clutch on the table where the board of directors had been eating. She began inching her way over, making it to the table with no problems.
Taking a paw off her gun, but keeping the weapon in front of her, she reached down and opened her clutch. She began rooting inside it, seeking her phone.
It wasn't there.
Strange, Felina thought, it should be here.
Her claws instead felt something thin and papery. Felina checked again to make sure no one was around before pulling the object out of her clutch. She stared at it.
"A Tarot card?" Felina mused aloud.
The card featured the Four of Pentacles. But there was something familiar about the kat in the picture. She studied it more closely.
It was the Pumadyne Board President.
"Oh, so that's where my card went!"
Felina whirled to face the voice, dropping the card and assuming a shooting stance. The dropped card floated in midair for a moment before flying into a pack of cards held by a very sinister looking tuxedo clad harlequin. Yelping in surprise Felina started backing up, keeping her gun between herself and the aberration who was sliding his eyes up and down her body.
The harlequin leered at her. "Hiya beautiful!"
Felina continued to back up. The jester's orange and yellow motif seemed familiar to her. Where had she seen it before? She leveled her gun as it continued to grin at her.
"How nice it is after all these years to see the Knight's Daughter. As lovely as she is kind." The jester's smile was unsettling. "Will she be brave and smart as well?"
"Who are you?" Felina demanded.
"You don't recognize me? I am Madkat." Madkat did an exaggerated bow. "The jester who made you smile and laugh all those years ago."
Madkat? Felina recalled her uncle talk about the case. How the Enforcers and the SWAT Kats had gotten extremely lucky in defeating the jester by the skin of their teeth. But the kat who caused all the trouble was locked in the Asylum! She tightened her grasp on her gun. "What did you do with everyone?"
"We couldn't possibly get any alone time together with so many kats around. So, I decided to make them a part of my Tarot collection instead." Madkat laughed as a deck of cards appeared out of thin air and began shuffling. Once finished the cards expanded in the air, forming a grid. Felina noticed in horror that each card bore a resemblance to a kat who attended the dinner, even down to her fellow officers. Horrified she brought her claw to the trigger as the jester made the cards disappear. "I thought we should get better acquainted."
"Why?" Felina asked, a bad feeling raising her fur. His answer confirmed her fear.
"Because I love you." His macabre smile sent chills down her spine.
Madkat advanced toward her. Felina fired her gun, anticipating the recoil about to shake her arm, but nothing came. Instead a flag unfurled from her gun with the word "Bang!" on it. Felina was dumbstruck for a moment. He made her gun a toy?
Madkat laughed as he dramatically placed a paw on his chest. "Right in the heart!"
Felina tossed her gun aside and began looking for anything heavy to brain the idiot with. She grabbed a nearby chair and hoisted it above her head. As soon as Madkat moved within range she swung the chair, breaking it as she hit him.
Madkat shattered into tiny pieces. "You make me want to fall to pieces!"
Seizing the opportunity, Felina jumped over the shattered pieces of Madkat and ran as fast as she could toward the ballroom's doors. She had to get out to warn her uncle and hopefully link up with Razor. As soon as she reached the doors they slammed shut, locks sliding into place. She twisted the handles in vain as she heard Madkat's sinister laugh behind her.
"I can't have my sweetheart leave without dinner first." Madkat chuckled.
Rage burned within Felina as she desperately tried to open the ballroom doors. "I'm not your sweetheart!"
"But you will be!"
Felina suddenly felt something close around her waist. Looking down she saw an orange and yellow paw and it began pulling her away from the door. She desperately tried to dig her heels into the floor to fight it but eventually she was pulled back to the crazy jester's side.
"Now then, before we get to dinner," Madkat said as he pulled her in close to his body, "how about a kiss?"
Felina summoned all the energy she could and slapped Madkat across the face, stinging her paw. She couldn't do much to show defiance, but she wasn't going to the let the crazy jester get what he wanted so easily. Madkat seemed unfazed, smiling wickedly at her as she tried her best not to let herself show her emotions.
"Mmm...Feisty." Madkat leered at her. "I think I like that."
oOo oOo oOo
Razor shuffled his way through the air ducts of the hotel on his paws and knees. He needed to get a good look of the ballroom before he attempted his infiltration. Sneaking a peek from above through the air vents would be the best way.
As he crawled his mind kept wandering to Felina, and what she wore. Or what little she wore. She was quite the sight. So different, yet herself. And she had a love for Hard Shell! Finally he wasn't alone in his obsession of the insect.
He was even a little excited for the chance to see where she hid her gun.
"Get your paws off me!"
Razor froze in his tracks. His ears pricked upwards, straining to listen for more yelling. Was that Felina?
He crawled to an air vent grate. He should be directly above the ballroom by now, so he should be able to see what was going on. Sounds coming from the dinner stopped a while ago, and Felina's shout worried him. Positioning himself by the grate, he peered down through it straight into the ballroom.
The very familiar flash of an orange and yellow motif made Razor's fur stand up.
Madkat had returned! And he had Felina.
Razor watched as the Lieutenant struggled in the jester's grasp as Madkat led her in a perverse dance around the ballroom. He frowned, surprised at the almost jealous like feeling of anger beginning to claw at him. Razor shook his head, admonishing himself. Now was not the time to process such a feeling, nor wonder how Madkat managed to return. He had to figure out a way to separate the pair and get Felina out his clutches.
A small plan hatched in his mind, but he needed his buddy to make a quick getaway. Razor brought his glovatrix up to his face and keyed in T-Bone's frequency.
"T-Bone, get ready to move."
"Why?" T-Bone's voice came through, sounding bored. "You get caught?"
"No. It's worse." Razor watched as Madkat spun Felina around. "Madkat is back."
"Madkat!" T-Bone's voice shed its boredom. "How?"
"I don't know, but that doesn't matter right now. He has the Lieutenant."
"Felina? She's there too?"
"Yep, and Madkat's currently forcing her to dance." Razor said, squelching down his feelings again. "I need you to be able to get to the front of the hotel at my mark. We're going to be coming out hot and need to get away."
Razor killed the connection and got to work taking out the grate's screws. Once they were out, he carefully gripped the grate and lifted it up as quietly as he could before setting it aside. After checking to make sure Madkat was on the other side of the ballroom he dropped through the gate, landing on the floor in a crouch.
He only had one shot at this. Time to make it count.
oOo oOo oOo
Felina fought to keep her revulsion in check as the jester spun her around the ballroom. Madkat's grip was ironclad, and he wasn't going to let her go willingly. She bit her lip as he pulled her in even closer to his body.
What could she do? Nothing offensive done to the idiot worked. Her gun failed, and he shrugged off a chair and a slap. Just what could be done? There was no way she was going along with whatever plan the jester was thinking up.
"We're going to have such fun you and I," Madkat laughed, spinning Felina around. "Once you prove you are the Knight's Daughter, you will be worthy to wear the ring. And then we can be married!"
"No way in hell!"
"But we must be married if I'm going to stay in this physical world permanently. And I want that."
Felina forced herself not to glare at him. If she wasn't going to be able to get away, she should start getting information. And that meant being pleasant and almost...flirty. She smiled at him.
"What about this ring?" She noticed Madkat's look of joy when her tone of voice changed to something more pleasing. "is it pretty?"
"It is a ring worthy of you, for only you can restore its power."
"Now, now, I can't tell you too much. Only you must figure out the trials which powers the ring. " Madkat's smile was sinister. "And it is up to me to find it and put it on your claw."
He doesn't have this ring. That's valuable information, Felina thought. But what about these trials. Had she unknowingly completed them?
"But that's all for a later time. Since we didn't have dinner, " Madkat pulled Felina into deep dip and brought his face close to hers, "how about dessert?"
"Hey Madkat! Mind if I cut in?"
Felina watched as Razor came out of nowhere, launching himself at Madkat and kicking him in the face. The jester lost his grip on her, sending her falling backwards onto her tail while he went flying into a nearby table. Razor paused to pull Felina to her feet. before assuming a fighting stance.
"Lieutenant, get ready to run!"
"Where? He's locked all the doors!"
"There's an open air vent I dropped through. Wait for me there!"
Felina, after pausing to grab a knife that had fallen on the ground, turned and sprinted toward the air vent. Razor readied his glovatrix and pointed it Madkat, who was just about to get back to his feet.
Razor fired them at the jester, aiming for his hat. He hoped Madkat still had the same weakness, and his return would be short lived. That hope was swiftly crushed when the blades bounced uselessly off Madkat's hat.
"Impressive you remembered my previous weakness SWAT Kat. But a new host means new rules!" Madkat laughed. "And since you're so eager to cut into my dance, how about some sharp music in Db Major?"
Madkat pulled out a conductor's baton out and waved it. Several pound signs appeared out of thin air and hurled themselves at Razor. The SWAT Kat was forced to flip backward to get away from the onslaught.
Razor could hear the musical notes hit and embed themselves in various chairs and tables as he flipped backwards, trying to put distance between himself and the notes. As the last note embedded itself into the ground, Razor was back on his feet.
"Oh? Not a fan of my music? This simply won't do!" Madkat dismissed the conductor's baton and a comically large camera appeared and placed itself in his paws. "Say cheese!"
Razor rolled away as the camera flashed. Where he had stood was now a large card showing a bunch of wooden sticks.
Madkat tilted his head, staring at the card in confusion. "Wands?" He gasped, eyes widened. "It can't be!"
Razor rolled back to his feet. That camera was bad news and he didn't want to get caught in the flash. He watched as Madkat refocused his attention on him. The jester's glare showed such hatred it raised the fur on the back of his neck.
"You. I know you!"
"Never will I allow the Knight of Wands to have the Knight's Daughter! She's mine!"
Razor looked around. No place to go easily...except back into the air vent. "Crud..."
Madkat raised the camera. Suddenly Felina appeared, throwing herself between Madkat and Razor. As she stood defiantly before Madkat, Razor hissed at her.
"I'm counting on him not to hurt me!" Felina hissed back before returning her attention to Madkat. "You want him? You have to go through me!"
To Razor's surprise the look of hatred melted off Madkat's face, only to be replaced with a look of twisted love. "The Knight's Daughter proves she is brave as she is kind and beautiful. Another trial completed!"
Felina cringed. "Maybe I shouldn't have done this."
"Two more trials," Madkat smirked, "and you will be mine forever!"
"Just two, huh?" Razor aimed his glovatrix at the open vent. "In that case, I object!"
Razor fired his glovatrix, sending his grappling hooks up into the grate. Once he felt them hook onto something solid he grabbed Felina around her waist. Startled Felina could only throw her arms around him, causing a warm feeling he quickly had to squelch.
"See you later sicko!" Razor taunted as his glovatrix pulled him and Felina up into the vent.
oOo oOo oOo
Megakat City Botanical Gardens
Feral, feeling his phone vibrate, ducked around the corner. He didn't want to handle possible Enforcer business under Kincaid's or Devon's death glares. The Megakat City Bar Association Gala was just as uncomfortable as he thought it would be. If his exes weren't engaged in a bout of one-upkatship regarding who won the most court cases they were comparing their past dating experiences with himself as the featured player. Such a horrible night, and he was a bit relieved when he received a call hailing from headquarters. At least now he had a good excuse to leave.
Making sure no one was around, he answered his phone. "This is Feral."
Dispatch's voice was even toned. "Sir, officers guarding the Pumadyne dinner have failed their hourly check in, and we have received no distress calls from the hotel itself."
Feral immediately snapped to attention. Felina was over there. She would take command if there were any issues. "Any word from Lieutenant Feral?"
Feral felt the hairs rise on the back of his neck. Something was wrong. Felina would be the first to report a problem, and the fact she hadn't worried him. He cleared his throat. "Get a unit ready and have them meet me at the hotel. And keep monitoring for communications from Lieutenant Feral or officers assigned to the dinner."
Feral signed off and immediately dialed Felina's cell phone. It just rung for a while before switching to her voice mail. Muttering he pocketed his phone, setting off to exit the gardens.
oOo oOo oOo
Razor kicked the screen connecting the air duct system to the elevator shaft. It caved in under the force and popped out, falling into the darkness beyond. Razor knew he and Felina had to get down to the ground floor quickly, and the elevator shaft was the fastest route.
Hoping the elevator was on the first floor he reached out and grabbed a cable, giving it a tug. It held taut in his grasp, confirming its sturdiness. The cable was fine to climb for now.
"Lieutenant, we can go-" Razor turned back for Felina, but his words trailed off when he saw her. Sitting in the airduct she had her arms wrapped around her knees. She stared at some distant point in front of her. Clearing his throat, he called out to her in a gentler tone. "Lieutenant?"
"Hmm? Oh." Felina looked as if she was mentally shaking herself as she focused her attention on Razor. "I'm sorry, I shouldn't be freezing like this. Not right now."
In an effort to make Felina feel better, he smiled at her. "Hey, it happens to the best of us."
"Nothing worked against that creepy clown! Nothing! I couldn't even get a shot off!" Felina sighed, uncoiling herself. "Then he wouldn't let me go..."
Felina's words trailed off as Razor saw her shudder. It had to be unnerving to the object of a psycho's obsession, Razor thought. Callie had to contend with the Pastmaster, but even she didn't have the laser guided obsessive focus that Felina has to deal with. He looked at her. "Lieutenant..."
"I'll be fine." Felina seemed like she snapped back into her no-nonsense Enforcer persona. "Can we get out through here?"
"It's the fastest way to the ground floor," Razor said. As he turned to reach out and grab the cable he asked, "Want a lift?"
Razor waited as Felina slipped her arms around his neck. A thrill ripped throughout his body as he was struck by the gentleness of her touch, despite her iron clad grip. As she hugged him from behind he could smell the light scent of her perfume and feel the Lieutenant's heart beat wildly in her chest, betraying her newly stoic nature. Was she scared or nervous?
"Erm...Right. Let's go."
Forcing himself to stop enjoying her touch Razor tightened his grip on the cable and swung out into the elevator shaft, feeling gravity take hold of his body for a moment as his feet gripped the cable. Making sure Felina was secure in her grip he started his slow decent down into the shaft, hoping Madkat wouldn't follow them.
oOo oOo oOo
Adjusting her grip around Razor Felina forced herself to pay attention to what was above, below, and around them in the elevator shaft. Anything to keep herself occupied and force her training to stay in gear.
You will get through this Lieutenant, Felina chided herself. You can always fall to pieces and curl into a ball later when its safe.
A chill ran down Felina's spine and she shivered, inadvertently pulling Razor into a tighter grip. Obsessive toms gave her the creeps, and she was fortunate not to have to deal with them. But this Madkat tom chilled her to the bone. She knew he would not stop unless he himself was stopped. By the way he shrugged off hers and Razor's attacks it would be easier said than done.
How could they fight off an invulnerable crazy jester?
Razor's voice brought Felina back into reality. "Hmm?"
"You're choking me!" Razor managed to eke out.
"Oh!" Felina relaxed her grip around Razor's neck. "Sorry!"
It surprised her about how strong Razor was. Sure, the smaller SWAT Kat was no slouch, but he was carrying her down the elevator shaft with ease. She could even feel some of his muscles through his g-suit. She surprised herself by noticing them at all, as muscles typically didn't impress her. But Razor's wasn't half bad.
Suddenly embarrassed Felina mentally shook herself. Now's not the time to think about that, Lieutenant.
"You're awfully quiet," Razor spoke up as he continued his downwards climb. "Penny for your thoughts?"
"...You're strong." Felina absentmindedly blurted out loud and immediately groaned to herself. Damned stress response.
Razor seemed not to notice any of her intent. "I would hope so. I load my own ordinance!"
"Well, you're handling carrying me like a pro. I'm impressed."
"Was I supposed to have trouble?" Razor's voice took on a teasing tone. "Maybe you're thinking you're heavier than you thought?"
Felina fought the urge to strangle him, lest she'd be in for a long fall. "You smartass! I was trying to complement you!"
"Yeah, yeah." Razor chuckled. "But do know your outfit is giving me extra motivation."
Felina immediately felt herself flush and was glad Razor couldn't see her. It was irritating how the vigilante was starting to push buttons she didn't know she had! But she wasn't going to let him get away with it easily.
"Watch yourself Gunny," Felina warned, whispering in his ear, "It's a long way to the bottom."
"...'Gunny?" Razor asked. "Where did that come from?"
"I'm not sure." Felina replied truthfully. "To be perfectly honest, the name just slipped out. But I think it fits. You are the weapons officer."
"Gunny, huh? I think I like it."
Felina could almost feel the wizzo's smile as he continued his descent.
oOo oOo oOo
Moments later, Razor heard strains of grinding metal. He paused his descent, straining his ears. What was that sound?
"Razor," Felina spoke up, "Why are we climbing upwards?"
"I'm not. I stopped."
Razor looked at the cable in his paws. It vibrated slightly, as if something was stretching it. His hackles rose up to match.
"Oh ho. So the Knight's Daughter likes to play hard to get."
Razor jerked his head up. Above in the darkness, the glimmer of a disturbing smile flashed by the central cable shaft. Sounds of metal scraping on metal filled his ears, the cable vibrating in his paw which revealed the danger.
"We're being pulled up!" Razor shouted, realizing the elevator car below them was also coming along for the ride.
"You know you couldn't take her away from me so easily." Madkat's voice echoed down mockingly.
Razor could only squelch his own revulsion as Madkat's new form came into view. The jester took on the form of an enormous multicolored spider, his grin twisting his face. Four spindly legs grasped the elevator cable, effortlessly pulling them up towards him. Screeching metal filed the enclosed space of the shaft as Razor heard the elevator car being forcibly dislodged from its tracks.
Felina whispered into Razor's ear. "I hate spiders!"
Razor suppressed a shudder. "You and me both!"
One last hard yank brought Razor and Felina up to eye level with Madkat, who laughed maniacally. "So, Knight of Wands, it's time for you to hand over my bride-to-be!"
"She isn't yours, you creep!"
Razor's blood boiled over the psycho's arrogant possession of Felina. But before he could say anything else in response, he felt Felina's hot, whispering breath brush past his ear. "You trust me?"
"Eh?" Razor kept his head immobile, and his eyes darted ineffectively to the side to try and meet hers.
Felina smirked at Madkat. "Sorry, but I prefer toms who have two legs!"
Razor yelped suddenly when Felina found some way to twist herself around his body and kiss him. The present danger became a mere footnote as he found himself lost in her kiss. Only Madkat's angry hiss was enough to break the spell.
And the jester was pissed.
Felina managed to pull a knife from somewhere and hurled it at Madkat's face. The caught off guard jester couldn't react as it grazed him, opening a long cut in his cheek. Madkat shrieked and dropped the bundled cable he held, sending both Felina and Razor into a free fall down the shaft.
"Hold on!" Razor shouted at Felina. He felt her wordlessly tighten her grip around his body as he concentrated on his paws. He hoped that he wouldn't lose his grip on the cable when it finally pulled taut, and that his glovatrix would protect at least one paw from serious injury.
The cable became rigid and Razor felt the painful friction when his paws slid down the cable. His limbs burned in agony when he finally gripped the cable and he and Felina came to a sudden stop. As he breathed heavily, trying to will himself to keep moving and ignore the pain in his paws, he could feel Felina's heart again, matching his own wild rhythm. Somehow, it calmed him down.
"Are you okay?" Razor asked.
"...I will be." Felina said after a moment, her exhalations still tickling his ear. "I just didn't sign up to be a paratrooper."
Razor chuckled at her intact sense of humor and looked around to regain his bearings. A painted number on the wall of the elevator shaft signified they were on the third floor. A few feet across from them were elevator doors. They could probably escape through there.
"I think we should get out of this shaft," Razor said.
Razor chuckled again as he swung himself toward the elevator doors. The cable had reasonable give so he was able to attach himself to the doors using his feet. As he began working to open the doors his ears picked up a faint scraping sound from above them.
"He's coming!" Felina shouted.
Razor pried the doors open and twisted his body so Felina could regain her footing on even ground. She detached herself, stepped through the doors, and offered a paw to him. Razor grabbed it and let go of the cable, sending it back into the shaft as he stepped through the doors. His ears picked up the scrapping sounds again, this time they were louder.
"Let's go! We can escape through the hotel!"
Still holding on to Felina's paw Razor pulled her along after him as they ran down the hallway.
oOo oOo oOo
When Feral arrived at the hotel he did not expect to see katizens running away from the building, with his own officers providing cover. As he stepped out of his car a commando jogged up to him, offering up a quick salute.
Feral returned it. "Sitrep!"
"Sir, we're evacuating katizens out of the hotel," the commando replied. "They're saying there is a humongous spider chasing a pair of kats throughout the hallways."
"Spider?" Feral mulled the report. Insects tended to be Dr. Viper's domain, but the snake hadn't been seen in ages. Same with Dark Kat, and the Metalikats would just shoot up the place. He needed a better description. "Anyone say what it looked like? And who it was chasing?"
Feral froze at the sound of the voice. It belonged to that bigger vigilante...T-Bone, he guessed his name was. SWAT Kats being around was the last thing he needed, especially since he couldn't hail Felina. The SWAT Kat skidded to a stop beside him, breathing heavily.
"What did you say?" Feral asked the out of breath vigilante.
"Madkat! Razor's was in the hotel when he spotted him with Felina!" T-Bone said after catching his breath.
The last thing Feral wanted was to acknowledge the SWAT Kat but he had no choice since he mentioned Felina. Feral grabbed T-Bone and shook him. "What about Felina? Was she okay?"
T-Bone couldn't say anything before the sounds of breaking glass filled the air. Feral released the SWAT Kat and instinctively ducked down, using his car as cover. He pulled his gun, carefully peering back over the hood. He saw the smaller SWAT Kat, Razor, rappelling down from a broken third floor window with Felina in his arms. Relief which washed over him was quickly replaced with horror as he saw a gigantic multicolored spider crawling after them at an abnormal speed. The sadistic grin on his face confirmed T-Bone's statement: Madkat was back.
Felina detached herself from Razor and began running with him toward the line of Enforcer squad cars in front of the hotel. "Aim for the face! He's injured there!"
"You heard the Lieutenant!" Feral ordered, taking aim himself, "Open fire!"
Feral pulled the trigger, adding his carefully placed shots to those of his officers, as well as T-Bone's. Madkat took the combined firepower fully to the face, causing him to explode into pieces of brightly colored confetti. He gritted his teeth as the small bits of paper were picked up by the wind and carried away out of sight. From experience, he knew that wouldn't be enough to take down the jester.
Holstering his gun he turned to see Felina running up to him. Before he could say anything, she buried her head into his chest. He then noticed the small tremble shaking her shoulders. Feral immediately shed his overcoat, draping it over Felina to cover her while simultaneously ordering his officers to see to the katizens. Felina needed the space. His officers didn't need to witness this.
Felina breathed deeply, apparently trying to calm herself. As he waited Feral looked toward the smaller SWAT Kat. "What happened?"
"Short answer?" Razor replied, shaking out his paws as if they hurt, "Madkat wants her to be his bride."
"...You're leaving something out."
Razor looked away, rubbing his shoulder. "I'm just glad I interrupted when I did."
Feral looked down at Felina, who seemed like she had no intention of moving any time soon. He took a deep breath, realizing he what he was going to say would be extremely painful for him, but necessary. "Thank you."
Both SWAT Kats looked at each other in surprise. Did Feral just thank them?
T-Bone snorted. "It's about-"
Razor cut off T-Bone's words with a well placed elbow to T-Bone's midsection. "Not now," he hissed.
Felina took a step back from Feral, looking a bit more composed. "I should debrief. You need to know..."
"It can wait." Feral cut her off. "We need to get you to your designated safehouse, then you can be debriefed."
"You know the rules. Your official involvement ends here and you will stand down."
"Your safety and your wellbeing come first. I say this not as your commanding officer but as your uncle." Feral patted her shoulders. "So indulge me."
Felina looked as if she was going to protest more before simply nodding, lowering her head. "Yes, sir."
Feral returned to his car and grabbed his radio. He keyed it to indicate he was about to come online before speaking. "Get me York. Immediately!"
A few moments later York's accented voice came through. "This is York."
"Major, I'll need you and your crime scene teams to head to Katzmer's shop. Madkat's returned, and we'll need all the information Katzmer can give us."
"Madkat?" York sounded confused. "Ringtail's under lock and key at the asylum!"
"We need to make sure he's still there. Chat with Devon for access and you'll need to make sure our ADA is getting appropriate warrants for us. I'll meet you at Katzmer's soon."
"Acknowledged. I will wait for you there."
York signed off and Feral returned his attention toward Felina, who was now sitting in his car looking dejected. He frowned. There was no way he would be able to keep an eye on Felina while he chased down Katzmer. There was also the issue of Madkat's previous reign of terror. What if he got into his mind he wanted the Queen again? Or even himself? For once it was a good thing Manx and Litterbin were out of town.
Feral looked over at the SWAT Kats, who chatted amongst themselves. He had to do it. He hated to do it, but it needed to be done. It felt like he was swallowing awful tasting medicine, but with someone like Madkat on the loose with his extreme interest in Felina, he had to do what was needed.
He sighed. He'd never live this down.
oOo oOo oOo
"Are you ok?" T-Bone asked, watching his buddy rub his arms for the umpteenth time.
"...I will be." Razor rolled his shoulders in an attempt to get rid of some of the soreness. It helped a bit.
"Is crazily obsessed with Felina. He wants to marry her. Why I don't know."
"Did anything harm him?"
"Other than Felina cutting him while he was distracted, no." Razor said, hoping he wasn't blushing. Felina's kiss was still on his mind. He knew he'd be in for a ribbing from T-Bone after he spilled his guts if the bigger tom ever had an inkling to what happened.
T-Bone looked confused. "The jester's hat trick didn't work?"
"No. It was the first thing I tried." Razor sighed. "We'll have to figure out something else."
"Well, let's get back to-"
The SWAT Kats froze at the tone of Feral's voice. "Just what is it about his voice that makes us want to obey?" T-Bone muttered under his breath to Razor as they turned to face their former commander.
"Madkat on the loose again means anyone on his list of revenge is still fair game." Feral approached the pair. "With Manx and Litterbin out of the city it means the Deputy Mayor and myself are potential targets, along with Felina."
Razor scratched his ear. "So..."
"You want to get on my good side?"
"We aren't already?" T-Bone quipped, but his remaining jabs died in his throat when he spotted the look on Feral's face. He's been serious before, but not this serious.
"You need to protect the Deputy Mayor and Felina. I won't be able to since I'll be chasing down Ringtail and Katzmer." Feral was uncharacteristically quiet as he looked back at his car. "I don't care who goes with whom, draw straws if you have to, but make sure they're safe."
It dawned on Razor that Feral left himself out of his own decree. "What about you?"
"...It's a risk I'm willing to take." Feral began walking to his car, only to stop and return his attention back to the pair. "I'll reserve Enforcer channel Epsilon for communications. Use it if you need to contact me, and I'll use it to contact you."
"Is that an order, sir?" T-Bone snorted, obviously not too pleased with the thought.
A small smile seemed to play across Feral's face before he resumed his stoic nature. "Yes, it is."
Razor had to hold back T-Bone as Feral entered his car. "He's right, T-Bone."
"...I know." T-Bone slowly exhaled to calm himself down. "But him ordering us..."
"Is just to save face." Razor replied.
"...So what now?"
"We head back to the hanger, get our single seater cyclotrons, and some supplies. Then we split up. We've got guard duty."
"Who goes with whom?"
Feral's car finally pulled away, and Razor gave it a long look. "Why don't you cover Callie? I'll take Felina."
T-Bone was surprised. "Really?"
"Madkat seemed to get really ticked off when I was near Felina. It might give us enough time for an escape if he comes around." Razor replied.
"If you say so."
Razor patted T-Bone on the shoulder. "Let's go. If I'm going to be watching Felina, I need to crack a few Enforcer databases to find out where she is."
oOo oOo oOo
"She loves me...she loves me lots..."
Holding a paper daisy Madkat perched high above the city on a skyscraper's ledge. He pulled hard at its petals, as if he was pulling the wings off a bug. The pulled petals slowly fluttered into the streets below, almost like confetti. A smile slowly twisted his face.
"She loves me...she loves me lots..."
The Knight's Daughter was everything he could have hoped. Felina was beautiful, kind, and brave. All that was left was to prove her knowledge, and commit the ultimate sacrifice, and she would be his.
"She loves me...she loves me lots..."
He still needed the ring, of course. Blast that old fool for hiding it. Perhaps his beloved would be able to find it. An appropriate trial for her, and it gives her the ultimate gift.
"She loves me...she loves me lots..."
Madkat paused to rub the scratch caused by Felina's knife, and his grin grew bolder. "She really loves me."
As much as he loved the Knight's Daughter's attention, the injury shouldn't have happened. Maybe he wasn't all together. When he was defeated before it caused such a shock to his spirit. Perhaps a piece of himself still resided in Ringtail, his former host. It was the only explanation. If he could get the piece back, no one, not even the Knight or the accursed Knight of Wands, would be able to stop him. Laughing maniacally, Madkat tossed the mangled daisy away.
"Ringtail 'ol pal, it's time we get reacquainted..."