{/"We call that person who has lost his father an orphan; and a widower that man who has lost his wife. But that man who has known the immense unhappiness of losing a friend, by what name do we call him? Here every language is silent and holds its peace in impotence..."

Realistically speaking, I understand fully that in the episodes, Jake and Chance never actually used guns. However, I understand that the two were in the military, and Jake was originally a gunner in the regular grunt squad. REALISTICALLY, in their line of work, they probably would be armed in dealing with dangerous criminals.

This is mostly to say that I've taken some liberties in the sake of a more mature, more realistically played out story.

It's hard to really figure how Chance would react to the situation I've put him in, so I'm putting him through what I've seen people go through whose minds are set in similar fashions. My dad reacts to trauma a lot like Chance reacts here.

On another note, the name of Xiu Sai Am's bar is the Qiao Mao. It is supposed to mean either Cat Fancy or Fancy Cat, as it works either way, but I don't speak Chinese, so if I'm wrong I'm wrong. Aheh. And yes, I know she's a Siamese cat, but that doesn't mean she can't be a Chinese character. So there.

Anyway, random plot liberties and some OOC-ness aside (keep in mind, I haven't seen this show in ages... I just remember the characters well enough to write them), please enjoy this long but hopefully nicely angsty piece of fiction. :3/}

{={Comrades in Arms}=}

His ears strained forward against the silence of the hallway, almost to the point that the movement was uncomfortable. For almost fifteen minutes, he had sat pressed against the cold metal wall, just the tip of his tail ticking back and forth restlessly.

When was he going to give the signal?

The silence was seriously starting to get to him. He sort of envied Razor's ability to keep a cool head in a situation like this. Unlike his bulkier friend, the slim cat was blessed with an amazing amount of patience.

A lopsided grin crossed his face. Maybe that was how Razor put up with him.

There was a commotion from down the hallway and a sort of agitated hiss. T-Bone felt the fur on the back of his neck rise almost instantly.

But he had to hold until he got the signal.

Damn, but he hated waiting.

/Okay, big guy, come on... head on straight... you can do this... just keep it together.../

Another noise and some commotion. He swore he heard Razor's signal.

Without a second thought, he dove forward into the hallway, bringing up his gun just as he had been instructed to and fired two shots.

He heard a grunt as his shots connected, and the thud as whoever had been hit collided with the ground. A grin split his round face before he chuckled to himself, speaking into his headset. "I got 'im, Ace. You're right; I AM gettin' better. You copy?" There was no response. "...Yo, Razor, you get that?" Once again, he received only static, and instantly, his ears pressed back against his helmet. "This isn't funny, Razor. Can you hear me?"

When he was once again answered by silence, the burly cat stood, his tail twitching back and forth in agitation. Razor wasn't one to play jokes, but maybe he was just in a good mood from their victory?

Slowly, the tabby made his way down the hall, eyes darting back and forth to check for any signs of his nemesis. There was blood on one wall, as if his target had tried to escape down a stairwell near where he stood.

Letting a smug grin cross his face briefly, he started down the stairs, looking down to see what he expected to be Dr. Viper at the bottom.

What he did see made his blood run cold.


Without missing a beat, T-Bone was at his friend's side. How had he...?!

Carefully, he examined the area around the wound. Definitely from his own gun.

His hands started to shake, his vision blurring. He had shot his best friend. In the back... this couldn't be happening!

He heard a mix of a hissing laugh and growled, his ears laying back even flatter than they already were, eyes narrowing as he bared his teeth. That bastard was laughing at him!

Without a word, he slipped his arms beneath his comrade's shoulders and knees, lifting him. As strong as he was, it was hardly even any effort for T-Bone to lift Razor's slim form, but the stillness of it was what truly disturbed him.

This couldn't have been happening.

"...You hang on, kid..." he managed to mumble out. "I'll think of something... you'll be okay..."


Things were no better back at the scrapyard. Out of vigilante mode but just as panicked, Chance Furlong stood silent for a long moment at the bedside of his best friend. If he'd just wake up, they could come up with something... a drive-by? He dragged himself home shot up?

Jake Clawson, laying there on the bed and unable to put in his opinion, was the one who came up with all the GOOD plans. Chance was well up the creek without the proverbial paddle.

He had to think of some sort of excuse. The only damaged clothes were his uniform, and seeing that would instantly clue anyone in to who he was. He didn't want it to come to that.

Finally, he decided that some excuse was better than none... Jake needed medical attention, and fast. One option came to his mind, and without another thought, he pulled on his best panicked fascade and picked up the phone.

"Emergency hotline," came the droning voice on the other end.

Chance swallowed his pride and started, hoping his ploy worked. "Operator?! Look, I need an ambulance down at the salvage yard... it's urgent, ma'am, c'mon!"

There was a pause. "I'll need your name."

"God...! It's Chance Furlong, I work here! My roommate's been hurt, okay?! He just dragged himself in here... someone shot him! I need help NOW, okay?!"

Once again, nothing on the other side. Jake let out a low groan, and Chance suddenly felt the urge to start yelling at the operator for being so slow that his friend ran the risk of bleeding to death before someone came. Finally, she spoke again. "Someone is on their way, Mr. Furlong. They'll be there in about five to ten minutes."

The click on the other end signified the conversation was over, leaving Chance unable to reign in his temper any longer. With a frustrated shout, he chucked the phone across the room as hard as he possibly could.

Giving a quiet sigh, he turned back to his friend, kneeling and watching Jake's changing expression with his ears pressed back. His friend was in a lot of pain, and losing more blood by the second. "...c'mon, Jake, you can do this. Don't give up on me yet!" He was answered by another quiet groan. "...damnit..."


If there was one thing Chance hated more than waiting, it was hospitals. He had been denied in his request to accompany the ambulance to the hospital with Jake. Immediate family only, they had told him. Growling, he informed them that none of Jake's immediate family was anywhere near the city, but once again, he was refused.

After a long hike to the Megakat City Hospital, he had sat down in a chair in the waiting room and resolved himself to the long wait that most certainly rested ahead of him.

Of course, that had been far from peaceful. There was the usual barrage of questions to be answered, and for such an occasion as an anonymous shooting, Commander Feral himself dragged his tail down to question the only person who was a possible witness.

"Well," he had jibed, "we know it couldn't have been you that shot him, Furlong. Your ability to aim a gun makes you as liable as a suspect as a blade of grass."

Chance had half a mind to tell him to take the pen in his hand and shove it up his ass sideways.

He didn't have a chance. He felt a hand on his shoulder and his ears pricked forward, into a ready-to-fight position. Fully ready to give the offender an earful about not bothering him because he wasn't in the mood, he lifted his head to start yelling, only to find Deputy Mayor Calico Briggs standing over him. She gave a weak smile, her ears resting to the sides. "Hey there, Chance. How are you? God, you're a wreck..."

The tabby gave a forced semblance of his usual confident smile. "Hey, Miss Briggs... I'm all right." He chuckled quietly. "Or as all right as I can be, anyway..."

"How's Jake?"

Here, his smile faded. "They don't know. He's in surgery right now... ER. It don't look good, to tell the truth."

Neither of them spoke for a moment before she dared to ask another question. "...Do you know the doctor in charge?"

"Monet Tortie. I hear she's s'posed to be pretty good."

Callie nodded. "I've heard good things about her, too. It's all right, Chance... Jake's in good hands."

He just nodded in reply. Silence fell over the pair once more, almost unbearable for both of them. Then, finally, the door to the ER slipped open and a slightly pudgy tortoise-shell cat walked out, a pair of glasses perched at the end of her nose, black hair pulled up into a neat bun. "Chance Furlong?"

Instantly, Chance stood up, lifting one hand as if to signify his presence. "Uh... that'd be me. I'm Chance Furlong. You've got news on Jacob Clawson, then... I hope...?"

The tortoise-shell nodded, looking down at a clipboard she held in her hands. "Jacob Clawson... gunshot victim, correct? He's out of surgery, but he's still in ER... currently, he's comatose, and we're getting no reactions. To be perfectly honest with you, Mr. Furlong, he's lost a lot of blood and he suffered a severe blow to the head, most likely from when he fell after being shot. I don't like to sugar-coat things... but you shouldn't get your hopes up." She frowned, an expression of sympathy on her face when Chance's ears flattened. "Would you like to see him?"

Chance almost appeared to be in shock for a moment. Finally, however, he nodded dumbly. "Yeah... yeah, I'd like to see him..."

She nodded and motioned for him to follow her. Giving a wave towards Callie, he trotted off behind her, his ears strained forward in concern.


"I don't usually do this," the doctor stated as she finally stopped next to a door. "However, as he has no immediate family in such a large radius of the city, and you're his roommate..."

Chance shook his head. "Look, if you'll get in trouble for it..."

Dr. Tortie laughed softly, shaking her head slightly. "It's fine. I'm the head doctor in the ER, so no one's going to question my motives." Reaching out one hand, she pushed open the door. "Go on in. I'll come and get you when visiting hours are up."

Nodding, Chance slipped past the doctor and into the hospital room. The door closed behind him, but the attention Chance had been paying to the door and anything outside of that room just then was extremely limited. His eyes were fixed on his best friend, totally still in the hospital bed, with only the movement of his chest to reassure Chance that he was alive.

"...Jake?" he questioned quietly. Swallowing a swell of fear that rose in his chest, he moved closer, grabbing a chair as he went. He had always teased Jake about being short, but for some reason, this situation made him look so much smaller... and for the worse. His ears pressed back against his head as he sat, keeping his eyes focused on Jake. "Hey, Ace... hope you can hear me in there. Havin' good dreams, I hope..." He paused. "The doc says you'll be fine. Heh... can't keep you down, after all... you've always been tougher than ya look."

He paused, watching Jake's face. His eyes narrowed and he let out a shuddering sigh, twining his hands together so tightly that his knuckles whitened beneath the golden fur. "You are not going to die, Jacob Clawson, you hear me? You're not going to. You wouldn't give up like that. I know you better than that."

Once again, he received no response... not that he expected one this time.

{"We're assigning you a WSO, Furlong."}

{"What the hell are you talking about? I don't need a damn WSO."}

{"After that last maneuver, we beg to differ. Don't worry, you'll be fine with this kid. Jacob Clawson."}

{"...Hey, I've heard of him. He's a crackshot, isn't he? Eh... I guess I can deal..."}

Chance's eyes narrowed as he sifted through a random assortment of memories. The two had been a perfect match-up as partners, and it really didn't surprise him that they had become friends so quickly...

{"Hey... I'm here to meet a Chance Furlong?"]

{"That'd be me. You Jacob Clawson?"}

{"Jake. Pleased to meet you."}

{"Same t'you. Welcome aboard, kid. Let's hope I don't scare you too bad."}

{"Heheh... trust me... there's very few things that really scare me these days...")

Good ol' Jake. He'd been surprised, of course, by Chance's reckless piloting, but just as surprised by the skill that came with it. Equally surprised was Chance, who witnessed Jake's ability to target through any piloting condition.

Even after they were kicked off the force, they stuck together, and together, they were the SWAT Kats. They'd faced innumerable evils and horrors together... only to be separated by friendly fire?

He refused to believe that was the way Jake would go.

Sighing softly, he returned his attention to his comrade. Still no movement. To be honest, it felt more comforting to see him still like this than it had been to watch him when he'd brought him back to the scrapyard. Jake's face had been twisted in a mask of pain then, and now he was totally at ease, his ears relaxed, arms laid over the blanket and at his sides. Breathing was all he had to worry about... but then again, even that was through a tube.

His eyes trailed the wires and tubes and other various things that performed a mixture of duties, from monitoring his friend's condition to keeping him alive. His fists clenched again. He barely heard the door creak open, but when Dr. Tortie spoke, he felt as if he deflated.

"Mr. Furlong? Time's up."

Sighing softly, Chance stood, giving Jake one long look. "...I'll be back tomorrow, buddy. That's a promise."


It felt like a much longer time than he remembered since he had been in the old bar. It wasn't a big bar, like most of the ones in the heart of town... the Qiao Mao was owned and run by a single cat, and she liked keeping it simple, despite the syndicates that had offered her so much money - money she didn't really need, thanks to her husband's profession - to build on. Of course, it was that Siamese that fixed Chance with a concerned look as soon as he'd walked through the sliding door.

"I heard news!" she chirped, her accent bringing at least some semblance of a smile to the tabby's face. "I so sorry for Jake, and for you! You want drink? I make you something light?"

Sighing, Chance slid onto a barstool, fixing the Asian cat with a solemn gaze. "If you're gonna make me anything, Sai Am, make it something strong. Just gimme a glass of vodka."

Her brow went up as she went for a glass. "You really want vodka? That strong."

"I just want to stop thinking for right now. Vodka will do the trick nicely in a few glasses."

Xiu Sai Am huffed, shaking her head as she poured a glass to the brim with vodka. "In few glasses, you stop thinking AND talking. If you fall off chair, I not picking you up."

Chance didn't respond to the comment. He just picked up the glass when she sat it in front of him and took a long drink, his ears pressing back at the bitter taste that assaulted him almost instantly. He let out a breath as he sat the glass down, already half empty, half-closed eyes staring at the bartop. "...So, you heard on the news, huh? God, I can't believe it's been long enough since it happened for those vultures to pick it up already."

"I no like reporters much, but they making big deal of this. Is bad karma." She leaned against the bartop, toying with a yin-yang necklace that dangled from her neck. "You come from hospital? How is he?"

After taking another drink, Chance shook his head. "Alive, and that's the best I can say. He's in a coma, and the doctor said it didn't look good for him..."

Sai Am frowned, glancing towards the ceiling. "Wise man say, key to everything is patience. You get chicken by hatching egg, not smashing it."

Silent again, Chance finished off what was in his glass and pushed the empty cup towards Sai Am for a refill. "I don't know about you... but I find it hard to be patient when your best friend is laying in the hospital on his death bed."

"So negative. Jake need patience and positivity... not negativity." Smiling, she put the glass that had originally been filled with vodka in the sink, taking out another two. She filled them both with milk and sat one in front of herself, the other in front of Chance. "So starting by staying sober is good way to stay positive."

Chance gave a weak smile. "Whatever, Sai Am... but I'll drink to that."


The next day, Chance was right back in the hospital room with Jake, as promised. He sat quietly, waiting for any sort of response from him, ears fully forward. The very tip of his tail twitched back and forth anxiously, but that was the only movement from him that was in any way noticeable.

He had been stopped on his way in by Felina Feral, most likely for questioning, but he hadn't spoken with her long. He wanted to get back to his silent vigil as quickly as possible. He hoped being there would help.

Sai Am's daughters, Chun An and Jiu Lan, had handmade little get well cards and sent them with Chance before he left the bar. Now, they sat on the table next to Jake, waiting for the person they had been drawn for to wake up read them.

"Hey, Jake," Chance started. "Doc Tortie says you're doin' better today. If you'd just wake up, they could mark you out of crisis point." He sighed, running his fingers through his fur. "You always were a heavy sleeper. I remember havin' to yank you out of your bunk by the tail. Nearly got killed for it a few times... but you always got me back." A chuckle slipped past and he smiled without thinking. "Putting hot-sauce in the ketchup bottle... replacing the salt with sugar... little things that were so subtle that I never saw 'em coming until it was too late. You're good at that sort of thing."

His ears tilted back slightly as he watched. Jake had shifted, but only slightly. Still, however, he showed no sign of any other movement. "...You can hear me, Jake. I know you can. So listen to me... there's plenty'a people waiting here for you to wake up. I can't tackle the tough problems without my wizzo... come on, Jake, y'gotta pull through this!"

One of Jake's ears twitched towards Chance as if in acknowledgement of his words. He was alert?!

Chance swallowed, his eyes growing wide as his ears instantly shot forward. "Jake?! Can ya hear me, buddy? Come on, Jake, wake up... you can do it!"

Jake groaned something, turning his head to one side before his eyes slid open a crack, his attention shifting over the room as if he hadn't the slightest clue what in the world was going on. "...wha...?"

Almost immediately, a huge grin broke across Chance's features. "Jake!"

The drowsy eyes turned to him. So the ginger cat's reaction time was still a bit slow, but that didn't mean anything. He was awake... and that was a good sign. "Huh...?"

"Aw, man, you had me scared to death, Jake!" Chance laughed, almost distantly, as he shook his head. "Look, Jake... I owe you a huge apology. I really do. I'm sure you know what I'm talking about, right?"

Jake watched Chance's movements for a moment as if the whole situation was foreign to him before he shook his head. "I... I don't... who ARE you...?"

Those words froze Chance like a shot to the head, and his expression fell as he stared at the other cat. "...Jake, it's me... Chance... your best friend, remember? We were in the force together... we live at the scrapyard now... workin' to pay off that debt."

"...I... I don't remember... Jake... that's me, right?" The ginger cat shook his head a little, his ears folded to the sides. "I just can't remember..."

"You can't even remember what happened to you...?" Chance asked softly.

Jake shook his head. "This is the hospital, right...?"

Slowly, Chance nodded, almost ignoring the doctor and nurse that came in behind him. "Yeah... you... you're in the hospital. You were shot..." He glanced at the doctor and nurse, then stood. "...and your name is Jacob Clawson." He drew in a breath... his next comment would count for even more than he felt it would. "Your friends always call you Jake."


The waiting room of the hospital was quieter than Callie had ever heard one, but that didn't disturb her quite as much as the lone figure that sat there. He was perfectly still, eyes fixed on his hands, the tip of his tail twitching violently. She blinked, then stepped forward quietly. "Chance...?" She paused. "Why aren't you with Jake?"

Chance's whole form tensed, and Callie swore she saw the muscles in his striped arms twitch. "He woke up... but he needed to rest."

"That's not like you."

Once again, he tensed, even more than before. "Just... drop it, okay?!" He growled as his tail lashed violently, then sighed. He hadn't wanted to lash out at Callie, of all people. "Miss Briggs, tell me... do you know how it feels to have your best friend wake up from a coma, look at you... and ask who the hell you are?"

For a moment, Callie just stared. Then, she gasped, her hands flying to her mouth. "You mean he...?!"

"Doesn't remember a damn thing. Didn't even remember his own name... asked me if it was really Jake." He let out a sigh, standing as he dusted his hands off on his pants. "I need a stiff drink. Call me if there's any change. I'll be at Sai Am's."

Callie swallowed. "Is it such a good idea to get drunk right now...?"

"Oh, I think it's a GREAT idea, Miss Briggs. So great an idea that I'm gonna keep ordering vodka until I forget this whole damn mess." He sighed as he made his way towards the door, grabbing his overshirt. "Then, maybe I'll know how Jake feels."


The days passed slowly for Chance after Jake woke up. He spent most of his time when he wasn't with his friend, trying to pull back what memories he could from the pit of nothing, at Sai Am's bar.

The twins were giddy with excitement over the thank you note Jake had written, trying his best not to make it known to the four-year old kittens that he didn't remember who they were. Chance couldn't even bring himself to smile at their little argument over who got to keep the note in their keepsake box.

Groaning, he folded his arms on the bartop and rested his head on them, ears folded back. Sai Am watched him with a quiet frown. "Mother always tell me moping make worse for situation."

"Well, I wouldn't be moping if Jake could remember anything," Chance muttered into his fur, careful to make sure the twins didn't hear him. "It's been a week. Jake still doesn't even remember he used to be in the force. Hell, he doesn't remember his own parents' names. He doesn't remember the salvage yard, anything from growing up... he doesn't remember meeting me... all the hell and high water we've been through... It's driving me insane, Sai Am."

"Remembering takes time," Sai Am warned. "Don't rush. You rush him, he get upset and things come harder to him."

Chance shook his head, his eyes narrowing. "You have no idea, Sai. I hate it... I go in there, and he greets me with, "Hi there, Chance. It... is Chance, right?" I feel like I'm living a movie. A really bad movie where the good guy loses and the bad guy gets the last laugh."

Sai Am chewed her lip for a moment, puffing her bangs out of her face. "I not sure what to tell you, Chance. Just be patient. He remember in time, you see." She smiled pleasantly. "Jake strong. And stubborn, too... like his friend. You see, he pull through okay."

Sighing, Chance reached for his glass. "If you're right, Sai Am, you deserve a medal."

"I have twin daughters and husband I hardly see. I very used to being optimistic in bad times." She pointed to his glass. "You need refill?"

After staring at his empty glass for a moment, Chance shook his head and stood. "No, but thanks, Sai Am. Tell the twins I said bye... I'm goin' back to the hospital."


Jake was sound asleep when Chance returned to the room he was in. His ears flicked forward. If it weren't for the fact that he knew how distraught his friend was over this whole ordeal, he would've looked almost peaceful. Giving a weak smile, he sat down in the chair he had been occupying. He could wait.

When Jake started to wake up, he was grumbling quietly. He yawned, then opened his eyes, lifting the hand not stuck with the IV to rub at them. "Mmf... how long've I been out...?"

"Most of the morning," Chance replied. This was routine by now. "Feeling any better? Anything coming back to you?"

There was a pause, and then Jake shook his head. "Little things... but nothing significant. I remember a crash... I keep thinkin' you might've been there, and that it was real important."

The corner of Chance's mouth twitched up in a half smile. "Yeah... probably the one from when we were back in the force... the one that ended with us livin' at the scrapyard, scraping out an existence to pay back the multi-million dollar debt that racked up." He laughed softly. "But you were a great wizzo, that's for sure."

Jake's brow went up. "Wizzo?"

"Uh... weapon system operator. WSO. It's just a nickname."

"Wizzo... I was your gunner, then?"

Chance grinned. "Yep. And the best gunner in the damn world, at that."

Hearing the praise in Chance's voice, Jake couldn't help but smile a little as well, laughing quietly. "I really wish I could remember..."

"Give it time, kid. You'll figure it out." He leaned back in his chair. "The doc says that in about a week, you'll be able to go home. You're recoverin' quick."

"Didn't you say I was always like that?"

"Yep. Too stubborn for your own damn good."

Jake laughed lightly, shaking his head before he turned his attention to the window. "...You know, I don't really remember much... but talking like this, I feel better." He looked back at Chance, who had turned his attention to his hands. "...You're mad at me, aren't you?"

"Huh?" Chance looked up, blinking for a moment before his ears folded back and he looked away again. "...To be honest? I can't be mad at you for somethin' that ain't your fault." He laughed, almost bitterly. "If it's anyone's fault, kid, it's mine. So don't worry about it, okay?"

Jake's ears pricked forward as he raised his brow, tilting his head to one side. "Y'lost me on how it could possibly be your fault, but okay..." Lifting one hand, the ginger cat yawned, his ears pressing back slightly at the motion. "I've been so tired lately..."

Standing up, Chance gave a weak smile. "Yeah... according to the doctor, it's 'cause you lost so much blood from the gunshot wounds. That and the concussion. Get some sleep, Sureshot... the more you rest, the closer you'll be to gettin' better."

He was out the door before Jake had a chance to respond. The smaller cat frowned, his tail ticking back and forth in agitation beneath the blankets.

If he didn't know better... he almost would have thought Chance was avoiding him.


Later on, back at the scrapyard, Chance lay quietly in his bed, staring at the ceiling above him as if it held the answers to all of his problems. He felt like a little bit of a jerk for just walking out like that... Jake must've thought something was certainly amiss with the situation, if he didn't think the burly tabby was just avoiding him completely.

Chance knew his own reasons for avoiding being around Jake... Jake didn't know who he was. Jake had no idea of his double-identity as Razor, gunner to the ace pilot T-Bone. As far as this Jacob Clawson knew, he was a mechanic who had once been a crackshot gunner, and former WSO to a rising-star pilot in the Megakat City Air Force. Being in the same room, rambling on about days long past, Chance could have let something slip... and what if Jake hadn't believed him? What if he told someone what he said? He hated not trusting his younger friend like that, but what else could he do?

Even though he knew it wasn't Jake's fault, Chance couldn't help but feel cheated by that... and he knew that it was his own fault that his friend was this way now.

With a heavy sigh, the frustrated tomcat rolled over, pressing his face into the pillow, ears pinned tightly back against his head. In a few days, Jake would be back home and just as unknowing as a child taking his first steps. Once again, he would have to play big brother to the rookie... something he hadn't done since Jake first hit the skies with him.

He had no idea how he was going to keep Jake out of the hangar... or out of anywhere else implicative of their second lives.

But if it took giving up his mantle as a SWAT Kat to keep Jake out of this sort of danger... well, that was a risk Chance Furlong was more than willing to take.


"Well... this is it, Jake. Home sweet home." Chance leaned rather pointedly against the handlebars of the wheelchair Jake was currently confined to, glancing down over his friend's shoulder with a haughty grin. "I even cleaned."

Jake just rolled his eyes, his ears cocking forward. "From what I know about you, Chance, that's a miracle and a half."

Chance snorted in mock indignance as he started forward again. "Pah. That's TWO miracles, thankya kindly." He chuckled and started walking forward again, glad that Jake couldn't see the way his ears constantly twitched, or how his tail swished back and forth in nervous agitation. "It ain't much... but this is where we've lived for a couple of years now. God, I have trouble believing it's been two years since we got kicked out..."

"Geez... I was that young?"

"You always were the rookie."

The two went quiet for a while as Chance maneuvered the wheelchair into one of the main rooms of the scrapyard. His ears flicked forward, almost as if hoping that the place would jar Jake's memory. He had no such luck. The small ginger cat just looked around with wide eyes, taking everything in for a second time. "...We actually live here?" He chuckled, a smile coming to his face. "Man... I've heard of baching it, but this is hilarious."

Chance made a face at him, folding his arms. "Hey, we try."

After a few minutes, Chance settled down onto a worn out chair, and the conversations began anew. Jake had questions, mostly about their past, and Chance was more than willing to answer them. He almost couldn't believe he was doing this... it was like telling stories to a child. Jake seemed interested to hear, though, and Chance still had a twinge of hope, somewhere deep down, that the more he talked about this, the more likely it would be that Jake would remember who he was.

It was pretty late when Chance realized exactly what time it was, his eyes drifting to the clock on the wall. He blinked, then laughed. "Geez, we've been talking that long? I can't remember the last time I held a steady conversation like that with someone."

Jake smirked, his ears tilting forward. "Well, I guess I should feel honored, then."

"You should," Chance sniffed. "I hardly--..." The tabby paused as an alarm sounded from the wall, causing his ears to pin back almost instantly. He didn't need this... not right now! "Hold that thought, Jake. I'll be right back."

Before Jake could ask what was going on, the burly tom had vaulted over the back of the chair and towards a phone on the back wall. "I'm here, Miss Briggs. What's going on?"

Jake strained his ears forward... he swore he heard someone talking about danger, needing help, and someone called Viper on the other end.

Chance didn't seem to notice that Jake was trying to listen in. His ears were flicking as he listened to the woman talking to him. "I'll be there as soon as I can, Miss Briggs. ...no, I'll be flying this one solo." He grinned. "Trust me... I can handle myself."

He hung up the phone as Jake watched him curiously. "What was that all about?"

"Nothing you should worry about." Chance shrugged out of his mechanic shirt, heading towards a door. "You can move around in that thing, can't you?" Jake nodded, dumbfounded. "All right... I'll be back soon. Got some unfinished business to take care of..."

When he left the room, Jake let out a huffy sigh. Something was definitely up here... and he was determined to find out what!


The cockpit of the TurboKat was disturbingly quiet as T-Bone fired up the engines, his eyes darkened behind the bandana he wore. His ears twitched restlessly from the tailored helmet. He was used to the joking banter he usually shared with Razor as they prepared for take-off. This quiet was disturbing... had he really forgotten what it felt like to fly solo?

He didn't say anything as he readied the boosters for launch. He just narrowed his eyes. Viper was the one they had been after when he had mistakenly shot his best friend down... Viper would pay for what happened. Even if the fault lay in T-Bone's hands, it would certainly make him feel better.

He tensed as his hand went for the control stick, eyes narrowing to slits as his ears flattened against the sleek helmet. "This one's for Razor."

With his other hand, he punched a button on the panel in front of him, and the jet shot out of the hangar like a bat out of hell, headed for what T-Bone felt would be revenge.

What awaited him was something far different.


A jet.

There was a jet in the scrapyard.

Jake watched in a sort of stunned silence as he watched his friend leave, done over in an outfit that seemed hauntingly familiar, in a jet that somehow seemed like he should know it.

His ears flicked restlessly, the ache of the lump he was still suffering from suddenly making itself known worse than ever.

He remembered. He remembered that jet. HE had built that jet!

Groaning softly, Jake lifted his hand to press it against his forehead. The dull ache behind his eyes was becoming a full-force throb. Instinctively, he tried to stand from the wheelchair, but once he had gotten his feet on solid ground, he felt a wave of dizziness hit him.

Losing his footing, the ginger cat toppled forward, landing hard and still on the cold metal floor.


Megakat City Biogenetics Lab. T-Bone snorted in agitation at that... Dr. Viper was up to his old tricks again, no doubt.

He almost spoke into his communicator, but he caught himself, reminding himself that he was solo this time. Razor was not there to back him up. He would have to be extremely cautious.

He moved slowly through the long corridor... the whole place was quiet. Far too quiet for his liking. /C'mon, Viper, where are you...? Show your ugly mug so I can wipe that slithering grin right off your face... with one good shot.../

One more step... the next door was cracked open a bit. That had to be it.

T-Bone didn't even stop to think about what he was doing. He pushed open the door, slowly, but even the careful tactic wasn't enough to protect him from what waited inside.

Something nailed him in the arm, the prick so minute he at first didn't notice it. That is, until he felt his whole body going numb.

"What the hell...?! Nngh!" T-Bone dropped to the floor, unable to move his limbs in any way, even his tail limp behind him. "What's going on here?!"

He was answered by a hissing laugh as Dr. Viper appeared from an adjoining room, grinning viciously at him. "Not to worry, SSSWAT Kat. That was only for paralysisss... I want you to be fully awake, after all, for what lies in ssstore for you." His forked tongue flicked out of his mouth once before he glanced around, a patronizing smile replacing the smug grin. "And no sssign of your brainy little friend... oh, yesss, I remember... you shot him yourssself."

T-Bone tried to move again, closing his eyes tightly. He didn't need reminded of that... not now. "You're a coward and a liar, Viper! I didn't mean for any of that to happen!"

"Oh, but it DID happen," the cat-snake retorted. "You missssheard a sssignal, and fired into a hallway without confirming a target... yesss, it was your fault in the end. If he didn't die of his woundsss, the fact that he isssn't here provesss he mussst not be helping you anymore..."

A shudder tried to push its way past the paralysis, and T-Bone growled. "Shut up!"

Viper chuckled cruelly, walking around T-Bone as if plotting his next move. "And why should I? I'm not afraid of a cat who can't even ssstand. And besssidesss, you yourssself rid me of one of my problemsss... your annoying, tinkering companion. And for that, I and every other villain in Megakat City should thank you."

The words were cutting deeper than any knife or bullet could have. T-Bone closed his eyes tightly against the assault, having just enough control left in his body to pin back his ears. The words kept coming... whoever had said that sticks and stones could break bones, but words never hurt, obviously had never shot their best friend in the back.

He wished he could disappear. He wanted this all to just go away. /Sorry, Razor... I tried.../


"Ugh... I feel like I just got railed by one of the Metallikats..."

Jake shook his head a little as consciousness slowly started to return to him. His hand lifted, fingertips carefully prodding the lump on his head. "...And how did THIS get here? God... bandages...? It's like I've been shot or something..."

The ginger cat groaned, standing, wary all the time of the pain that shot through his back. He looked around for a moment. "Chance?" What was he doing in the hangar? "Chance, where are you? How the hell'd I get down here?"

He shook his head slightly, then noticed one crucial issue... the TurboKat was gone.

"Aw, man..." His ears pinned back. "Wait... shot... aw, hell!"

Mindful of his injuries, the small cat rushed to get himself in gear. He could take the Cyclatron and use the Glovatrix to track T-Bone's location... if it wasn't just his memory playing tricks on him, he had a hunch what his companion was up to... and if he was right, he had to do something to stop him and fast.

/He's gonna get himself killed, going off to try to 'make things right'... I'm starting to wonder if he ever thinks at all!/ Jake sighed, tying the bandana around his head before he pulled on his helmet. In a matter of seconds, Jake was no more and Razor stood at the ready. "Hang on, Hotshot... injured or not, I'm comin' ta help!"


Some feeling returned to T-Bone's fingers as he lay there, wondering what Viper was planning on doing with him. That wasn't enough to save him, but it was some amount of a reassurance that whatever had been used on him wasn't lethal.

Whatever would come next he was sure was, however. He heard the mixing of liquids, most likely from vials of various chemicals and genetic... stuff. He didn't want to know what would come of this.

He wished he knew what was going on when the door burst open. He heard two shots from somewhere, a shattering vial, and an angry, hissing screech from Viper. "YOU! How did you survive?! The trap was perfect!"

T-Bone nearly whooped with joy when he heard the familiar voice ring out, "I'm smarter than that, Viper... and I wasn't about to let T-Bone have all the fun!"

A couple more shots and a commotion. Razor cursed as Viper must have escaped, but T-Bone was far happier that his friend was there... and knew who he was.

"Razor!" T-Bone grinned broadly. "How the hell did you...?!"

"No time to explain," Razor interrupted. "Viper's on the run, and I gotta stop him."

At that, T-Bone frowned. "Be careful, Ace. You'll reopen your wounds."

The sly grin that crossed the ginger cat's face was easily heard in the way he spoke. "Don't worry about it, T-Bone. I'll be okay."

T-Bone's ears twitched as he listened to Razor start towards the door. Groaning, he forced himself to move so that he could look at his friend dead-on. "Hey, Razor, one more thing... I'm sorry... about what happened."

Razor paused in the doorway, then glanced back at T-Bone with a sort of lopsided grin. "Just remember that you owe me one."

With those words, he darted out the door.


By the time Razor reached the roof of the building, Viper was already gone. He was panting softly, something soaking the back of his jacket, and he felt more than just a little overstressed. He knew he'd felt like he'd been moving slower than normal, but this was ridiculous. With a sigh, he sank to his knees, checking the Glovatrix. As he'd suspected, Dr. Viper was nowhere in the vicinity, and he was left up on the rooftop with a bleeding back and a sore head.

"Didn't I tell you not to press yourself too hard, Ace?"

Razor let a smile slip across his face, not even turning to look at the tabby behind him. "Yeah, whatever, Hotshot. I tried, didn't I?"

T-Bone chuckled, shaking his head as he reached down to pull Razor's arm over his shoulder, helping him stand. "You're insane, Razor... brave, but nuts."

"Yow! Easy on the back there, pal," Razor hissed. Neither of them spoke for a minute before Razor just glanced up at his friend, ears pricked forward. "How long was I out, T-Bone?"

The tabby blinked, one ear twisting forward as the other flattened to the side. "Uh... you've been awake for the past two and a half weeks."

That surprised Razor, and he tilted his head to the side. "...Seriously? I don't remember any of it."

"For some reason, I find that hilarious." T-Bone chuckled a bit, shaking his head at the thought. "You spend two and a half weeks unable to remember who the hell you are, and then you can't remember any of THAT."

Razor's brow went up, the look he was giving T-Bone one of obvious confusion. "Now I'm totally lost."

T-Bone just grinned, stopping to help his friend up into the copilot seat of the TurboKat. "Don't worry about it. Let's just get you home first. I'll pick up the Cyclatron... we're done here for now."


"So... for the past two and a half weeks, I couldn't remember a thing?" Jake winced as he settled onto one of the chairs in what passed as a living room for them. "Weird."

Chance nodded, rolling up the sleeves of the shirt he'd pulled on in place of his flight gear. "Amnesia's a funny thing." He paused, ears pinning back. "And I hafta apologize again, Jake, whether or not you just say I owe you one. My aim isn't worth a damn thing, and if I'd actually been paying attention, I wouldn't have shot you."

Jake's ears flicked forward. "Actually, Chance, you wouldn't have hit me OR Viper if that snake of a cat hadn't interfered."


"S'true. I was out of the way. I heard you fire the shots on my signal, but when I saw they were off target, I went towards the stairs after Viper myself. He shoved me back... right into the path of your shots!" He waved one hand in a motion of dismissal. "So y'see, it wasn't even really your fault at all. So don't sweat it... I don't expect an apology."

For a moment, Chance just gawked at him. Then, he smirked, shaking his head. "Well, that just totally defeated the point of me goin' all noble and trying to avenge you."

"Hey, it was a nice sentiment. And it WAS Viper's fault."

"True..." He grinned, leaning back in his seat. "Oh, by the way... Jiu Lan and Chun An are dying to see you."

Jake winced. "Eheh... I guess that means we're going to visit the Qiao Mao later tonight?"

Chance grinned, then laughed, folding his arms over his chest. "Aw, I wouldn't do that to ya, buddy. Your back's still messed up." He made an attempt to look perfectly innocent, his ears pricked forward. "I wouldn't do that to you until AFTER the stitches are out."

At that, Jake rolled his eyes. "Gee, Chance... I don't know how to thank you."

"Aw, it's nothin', Jake. After all... what're friends for?"