"Hey Jake, had me a Phillips head, will ya?" Chance asked from under a car's engine. No answer. Chance looked up, Jake was staring blankly in the toolbox. "Um, on the bottom to the right Jake,"
Jake shook his head slightly, as if snapping out of a daydream. "What? Oh right, sorry."
"No problem," Chance replied as Jake handed him the screwdriver.
Chance pretended to keep working, but watched Jake instead. Jake walked over to the calendar and flipped through to the later months. He sighed and turned away, picking up a wrench and started working on another car. His actions were slower than usual and his eyes were distant.
He's this way since he went to the doctor, Chance thought. Did something happen?
Later that night, Chance couldn't sleep. He couldn't stop worrying about Jake. He had been with Chance for the longest time. They were more than best friends, they were almost like brothers. So if something did happen at the doctor's office, Jake would have told him.
Then again, Chance started to think, then he shook his head.
"No, no way," Chance murmured. He tried to push his dark thought away. Chance knew that if there were something wrong with him, he wouldn't tell Jake because he wouldn't want Jake to worry.
But Jake wasn't like that. Was he?
Chance couldn't stand it. He rolled out of his hammock and landed on the floor without a sound. He went to Jake's room and peered in. Jake was gone. Chance's brow furrowed in worry. He went to their television room. There he found Jake sleeping on the couch. On the table was half a glass of milk and, strangely, a photo album. Usually if Chance found Jake like this he was working on some new invention or weapon.
"So what's he doing with this?" Chance wondered out loud, picking up the album.
He started flipping through the pages. There were a few kitten pictures they both promised to put in. There were pictures of them as kids in school, of their proms, graduations and enforcer days. There were two pictures clipped form a newspaper of them as the SWAT Kats. Chance couldn't help smiling at all the memories as he closed the book. Then something caught his eye. Also on the table was a pile of tissues. The empty box was on the floor. He looked over at the sleeping Jake and saw the fur around his eyes was wet.
"Jake crying?" Chance whispered. "Well, the tv's off, so it's not that he was watching a sad movie. That's not like Jake anyway."
Chance carefully picked up Jake and carried him to his room. Chance could almost laugh at how light the smaller kat was in his arms. He carefully placed Jake in his hammock and covered him.
"Always wanted a little brother," Chance mused. "Kind of strange he's my best friend and partner." Chance left the room smiling.
Whether it was fortunate or not, he missed the pained look that crossed Jake's face.
The next morning, Jake woke up feeling ill with nausea and dizziness. He looked up at his clock and saw it was nearly noon.
"What the-?" He started, but another wave of nausea kept him silent. The alarms went off. Jake took a deep breath. "Stay strong Razor. T-Bone can't have you wimping out now."
Jake slowly walked out of his room to find Chance has already changed.
"Was about time you woke up." T-Bone said with a smirk.
"Why go soft on me, letting me sleep this late?" Jake said with a sly smile as he started changing.
"You looked like you needed it."
"Don't start treating me like a kitten. MegaKat City needs us."
T-Bone grinned as he and Razor hopped into the TurboKat. T-Bone didn't mention his worry about Razor, Razor didn't mention anything to T-Bone.
"So what's going on now?" Razor asked.
"I think Dr. Viper's at it again." T-Bone explained. "There's been dangerous mutant plants seen and there's news of some strange flying thing too."
"Where are they?" Razor asked as he restrained himself in his gunner's chair.
T-Bone grinned as he started up the engines.
"You'll know in about five-point-three seconds." He replied.
"T-Bone, last time you said something like that it cost us one of our engines."
"Trust me Razor."
Razor moaned. "Give me a break buddy,"
T-Bone fired up the engines and took off. T-Bone flew as high as he could without them using their airmasks. He also went as fast as either of them could stand, but Razor wasn't up to his usual tolerance.
The TurboKat stopped. Razor groaned quietly and looked below them.
"Whoa, this is the other side of town," Razor observed.
"Yup. I made the engines faster." T-Bone said proudly.
"Better fuel and another intake." Razor rolled his eyes and held his head with a groan. T-Bone looked behind him, concerned. "You okay buddy?"
"Yeah," Razor lied. "Hey, what's that?"
T-Bone looked down to see horrible orange slugs slithering around in the streets.
"Get your tails out of here SWAT Kats." The familiar voice of Commander Ferral demanded over the radio. "We'll handle these slugs."
After watching for a few minutes, they saw it was true. The enforcers did have the slugs on the run. But they certainly didn't have a grip on the strange flying creature that circled above them.
"Heads up T-Bone!" Razor warned.
"Huh?" T-Bone looked up to see a huge green creature above them "Crud!"
The TurboKat pulled away and a battle in the sky began. The creature was a formidable enemy. It had four large wings and teeth like steel. It proved that on a few missiles. The fight went on for nearly an hour. T-Bone noticed that every time he did a crazy turn or speed up, Razor didn't have a good reaction and his shots were getting worse.
"Give it up for now buddy, I'll outrun this guy until we figure something out," T-Bone insisted.
"Negative T-Bone," Razor protested. "If we don't get this guy now we may cost half of MegaKat City."
Two enforcer choppers came to help, but the flying creature spat two slimy orange balls at them. The two helicopters were crushed and slowly melting.
"Crud!" T-Bone cried, veering sharply away.
The sharp turn nearly did it for Razor. His head spun and he nearly passed out. All T-Bone heard was a moan from behind him.
"Razor? Razor, are you okay?"
When there was no answer, T-Bone set the TurboKat on auto pilot, unstrapped himself and turned around to check on his partner. Razor has pain in his eyes.
"Razor, what's going on?" T-Bone demanded.
Razor sighed and was about to answer when he saw the creature attack again.
"T-Bone!" Razor cried. He took the pilot control and twisted the TurboKat around near lightspeed.
T-Bone didn't have a chance to prevent himself from being slammed into the glass shield. The glass broke, cutting his ear and knocking him out.
Razor gasped. He didn't see the second attack. It crushed half the TurboKat and half of him. His helmet had been knocked off as well, but Razor only had one thing on his mind. Getting T-Bone to safety.
T-Bone's eyes fluttered open. "Razor," he whispered.
"Stay cool T-Bone, I promise I'll get us out of here." Razor said, not showing he was hurt. T-Bone passed out again. "All right, you asked for it. Stunner Missile deploy!"
The missile slammed into its target. Soon it was sizzled to a crisp.
"All yours Ferral." Razor said weakly over the radio.
As quickly and carefully as he could, Razor piloted the TurboKat home. When he was finally in the hangar, he sighed in relief. Until he found out how badly his own injuries were. Half on his body was entangled in the crushed parts of the TurboKat. With a moan of pain, the small kat closed his eyes. Soon, Razor the SWAT Kat and Jake the mechanic lay unconscious with his partner T-Bone and his best friend Chance.
Ten minutes later, T-Bone woke up. He sat up straight and opened the glass shield. He winced at the sound it made.
"That can't be good," T-Bone said. "How did we get back here? Razor?"
He turned his head and saw the TurboKat was crushed. And Razor with it. He saw his helmet was knocked off, his jumpsuit was torn and covered with blood.
"Razor? Jake?! Jake talk to me!"
T-Bone threw off his own helmet and carefully pulled Jake out of the crushed jet. He carried him up to the garage, as carefully an quickly as he could. He checked his pulse and listened to his breathing. All was only slightly abnormal.
"Oh man, what am I going to do? He's gonna die if I don't get him to a hospital." Chance muttered. "Yeah, great, I can see the headlines. 'SWAT Kat admitted to Hospital; Long Term Secret Discovered.' Well, I'm not going to let that happen. Hang in there Jake, I'll get you through this. I promise."
Chance closed his eyes for a minute. He knew Razor turned the jet so they wouldn't blow up. Too bad T-Bone had to be foolish to unlock his restraints. Razor made him a promise. And he kept it.
"T-Bone, I promise you'll be safe." Razor promised.
He fulfilled his promise. Now Chance will fulfill his.
With his paws shaking and his heart pounding, Chance took off Razor's mask. Then he switched the SWAT Kat jumpsuit for the mechanic's coveralls. Jake bled enough to soak his new clothing. Now Chance's story would stick.
Shakily, Chance dialed 911.
"I need an ambulance quick! Jake was caught under a car!" Chance yelled, trying to make like the incident just happened. "Well of course I moved the car! He'd be dead if I didn't! Send the ambulance!"
Chance rattled off the address then hung up the phone. He quickly threw on his own coveralls then sat next to Jake, waiting. He held his paw in his own.
"Stay with me Jake. I promise I'll get you through this. I promise."
The next three hours were a blur to Chance. Any of it he could remember was a nightmare. The first hour consisted of the long ride to the hospital. Jake was taken away, then Chance was treated for his ear. He received eleven stitches. The second hour was frustrating. Doctors kept asking questions but gave no answers. He filled out endless papers. The third hour was just waiting. If he wasn't sitting stiffly in a chair, he paced in the waiting room. He didn't eat, drink, or talk.
Finally, a doctor walked in holding a clipboard.
"Chance Furlong?" He called.
"Yeah?" Chance said, spinning around to face the doctor.
"Mr. Furlong. Come with me please."
Chance followed the doctor through a few hallways and an elevator as a few things were explained.
"I'm Dr. Panthers. Now, what has happened again?"
"I told you people hundreds of times," Chance said, his fists clenching but his voice remained relatively calm. "Jake and I were working on a car. The jack broke and he was caught underneath."
"Ah ha, and how'd you get your ear cut?"
"Ah, I see."
"Look doc, no offense but this is about Jake, not me."
He stopped in front of a windowed room. Chance looked over and saw Jake lying on the bed inside. He was hooked up to a bunch of machines and his head was bandaged. Chance's heart nearly froze. He finally reminded himself to breathe after a few minutes.
"So, so tell me the good news." Chance murmured, trying to keep his cool.
"He broke four ribs, received eleven stitches in his stomach and sixteen on his arm."
"Is that all?"
"He's in a coma Mr. Furlong. He is also very sick."
"What do you mean by 'very sick?'" Chance's paws clenched again.
"A few days ago, Jacob had come to me for a checkup. I found he has a rare condition in his blood."
"What?" Chance turned to the doctor slowly.
"His blood cells carry a virus that affects his entire body."
"Now obviously I'm no doctor, but can't his immunity system take care of it?"
"No. That's the problem. The virus basically kills his immunity system. I've researched his family files and many of them have had it. Somehow his family lacks the immunity for this disease whereas all other kats are immune to it. Slowly his entire body system will shut down."
"You better have an answer to this problem." Chance was now growled. He pointed to Jake. "That's my best friend in there. He's like a little brother to me."
"Mr. Furlong, please, there is a solution, but there is yet another complication."
"And that is?"
Dr. Panthers swallowed hard. Chance looked about ready to pound him through a wall.
"A blood transfusion."
"A blood transfusion is the problem?"
"No. That's the solution. The problem is that Jacob's blood type is very, very rare. A negative, B positive. There's only enough in the blood bank to keep him alive after all the blood he lost in the accident. The only other problem is that he needs to wake up." Dr. Panthers sighed. "Without more blood donations, he's dead."
"No way." Chance scratched the back of his head, extremely upset. He grimaced as a claw hit his stitches.
"Bad cut I see." Dr. Panthers said. "Uh, Mr. Furlong,"
"Chance. Call me Chance."
"Chance, I'll keep searching for an answer."
"Thank you doctor."
Dr. Panthers watched Chance rest his forehead on the glass. He held a look of loss and despair in his eyes.
"You can go in you know." Dr. Panthers said. "There has been proof that though a kat may be in a coma, they can still hear. Maybe talking to him will help."
Chance looked unsure, but nodded. Dr. Panthers showed him the door and set a stool next to the bed.
"Keep this on you. It'll allow you to come visit Jacob any time you want."
"Thanks doc." Chance muttered as Dr. Panthers handed him a pin. Dr. Panthers smiled then left.
Chance still stood in the doorway, staring at Jake. He barely looked like himself. An oxygen mask covered his mouth and nose, a monitor clicked off his heartbeats and breathing and an IV was hooked to his wrist. Slowly, Chance walked over and sat on the stool.
"Jake, you know I wouldn't normally say, but I'm scared." Chance said. "Seeing you like this gives me the creeps. Man Jake, why didn't you tell me you were sick?" Chance sighed and rubbed his eyes in frustration. Then he took Jake's paw again. "My promise still stands. You're my best friend, my partner, heck, you're closer to me than half my family."
Chance yawned. He didn't get much sleep the night before and that entire day had been one big mess after another. He couldn't help resting his head on the edge of the bed.
Moments later, he was asleep.
T-Bone opened his eyes. He saw Dr. Viper's ugly face twist in a smirk of triumph.
"Viper!" T-Bone growled. He lunged for him but found he was chained to a wall.
"Hello T-Bone, sssss," Viper hissed. "Ssso nice to see you again."
"What do you want from me you mutant freak?" T-Bone demanded.
"Dependss what I can't get from you partner. Hsss,"
"What do you mean?"
Dr. Viper stepped aside. Not ten feet away, Razor could be seen on a table. He was hooked up to a few crazy-looking machines. He was unconscious, but his face clearly showed the pain and misery he was being put through.
"My experiments require live katsss. Nice of you SWAT Katsss to volunteer. Hss, hss, hss." Viper laughed and walked away.
T-Bone struggled against his restraints, but Viper obviously knew his strength.
The one SWAT Kat looked up to look into the eyes of the smaller SWAT Kat.
"Razor! Are you all right?"
"I donÕt know," Razor murmured. "T-Bone, I, I'm not going to live through this."
"That's no way for a SWAT Kat to talk Razor! Tough it out! We can beat this mutant snake!"
"T-Bone, if you could only know."
"Razor, why didn't you say anything before?"
Razor smiled. "It wasn't any use getting your fur in a ruffle about it. There's nothing you can do."
"There has to be!"
Razor shook his head. "Guess I'll be the first in my family to die from this. T-Bone, you're my best friend, my partner, and the brother I never had."
Razor slowly closed his eyes.
"Razor? Razor, wake up!" Slowly Razor began to fade. "No Razor! Jake! Jake donÕt leave!"
"Jake!" Chance sat up in a flash. He cried out when he found himself entangled in a sheet. He finally calmed down and pulled the sheet off. "Huh?"
He looked around. He was still in the hospital, lying in the bed next to Jake's.
The voice was soft, weak, but familiar. Chance looked over to see Jake sitting up in bed. The oxygen tank was gone along with the heart monitor. Jake was staring into his lap.
"Jake! You're awake!" Chance cried, leaping out of bed.
"Dr. Panthers found you asleep. I woke up a few hours ago and covered you with an extra sheet. You were shivering." Jake explained, not looking up.
Chance glanced over to see that Jake had the morning paper in his lap. The headline read, "Enforcers Apprehend Viper." Chance grinned.
"Guess Ferral finally did something right for once."
Chance's grin faded. "Jake, look, Dr. Panthers told me you were sick. Why did I hear it from him?"
Jake closed his eyes. "Because there's nothing you could do about it except worry. My family's had this as far back as the history books could trace. I'll be the first in nearly a century to die from this."
Chance shuddered, remembering his dream. "Don't say that Jake."
"Well it's true Chance." Jake looked at him. "I don't know what else to tell you. Nothing can be done."
"I wouldn't quite say that."
The two kats looked up at the door. Dr. Panthers walked in, carrying another clipboard.
"Morning doc," Chance said.
"Good morning Chance. Jacob." Dr. Panthers replied with a nod. "Chance, I've been looked at blood samples taken yesterday to make sure your ear wasn't infected."
"Lemme guess, it is."
"No. Not only are you completely healthy Chance, but you have the same blood type as Jacob and the anti-bodies needed to fight his disease."
Chance's eyes lit up. But Jake frowned.
"That's cool and everything, but what if Chance gets sick? I mean, if we're switching blood couldn't he get sick? What anti-bodies are going to protect him?" Jake asked.
"Who cares? When can we start?"
"Chance, no way,"
Chance looked down at Jake. "Look, I promised to get you out of this Jake, I'm not going to let you lie here and die."
"You think this is easy on me or something? I wouldn't like seeing you die anymore than vice versa!"
"Well, I'm doing it whether you like it or not." ChanceÕs voice turned softer and calmer, staring at Jake straight in the eyes. "I promise I won't die Jake. You know I keep my promises."
Jake opened his mouth to protest. He then shut it and lay back in his bed. He slowly closed his eyes and fell asleep.
"The emotional breakout must have worn him out. Here Chance, fill out these forms and we can begin the transfusion."
Five hours later, Chance and Jake lay side by side. The doctors had them prepared for the transfusion and the two kats were left alone for the moment.
"Chance?" Jake said just above a whisper.
"Yeah Jake?" Chance answered back. Both were becoming weak from the anesthetics.
"What if something happens and we're needed?"
"I doubt that buddy."
"What about later? No use having two SWAT Kats down."
"Too late now." Jake looked over and saw Chance was knocked out completely. Jake was barely able to keep his eyes open when the doctors came back. His vision blurred as they hooked up an IV and started the transfusion.
Seconds later, Jake also slept.
Jake opened his eyes in what felt like moments later. At first he thought the entire thing was a dream. When he found himself lying in the hospital bed and Chance asleep in the other bed, he realized it wasn't a dream.
"Ah, you're awake." Dr. Panthers said from the doorway. "How are you feeling?"
"I'm okay. How's Chance?"
"He hasn't woken up yet. The transfusion was a success. Rest now and gather your strength."
Dr. Panthers left. Jake stood and carefully got out of bed. He looked sick as his feet hit the floor. He still felt weak. He carefully walked over to ChanceÕs bed. Jake had to stand on a stool to face him.
"Thanks for risking your life partner," Jake said. "Hope you know that if you get sick and die, I'll kill you."
"And if you keep a secret like this from me again, it better be me you're worried about an not your sickness." Chance muttered, his eyes fluttering open.
"Hey, welcome back Chance."
"You should be in bed," Chance said, sitting up.
"And since when did you turn into my father?"
Chance grinned and grabbed Jake, putting him into a headlock and scratching Jake's head.
"Since I became your big bro,"
"Hey! Let go Chance! I'll kick your tail!"
"Sure Jake, in your dreams."
"No more secrets?"
"All right! All right! No more secrets!"
Chance let him go and grinned. Jake smiled back and couldn't help hugging his partner.
"Best friends?" Jake said.
"Best friends." Chance replied.