Title: Masks
Author: Jordanna Morgan
Date: October 2004
Rating: G.
Disclaimer: The SWAT Kats belong to Hanna-Barbera. I promise to play nice with them.
Summary: Chance Furlong considers the cost of living two lives.
Author's Notes: Just a little snippet of angst. I forgot exactly where I was headed with this, but I thought it would stand passably well as it is.


You know, I've got this recurring dream.

In it, Jake and I have just gotten back from a mission. I guess we've been successful at whatever it was, because we're both in a great mood. Anyway, I jump down out of the TurboKat, head over to the lockers and pull off my mask—only to look in the mirror, and see that there's nothing under the mask but an empty flight suit.

The first time, I figured I'd just had too many mongo peppers on my pizza that night. But I've kept having this dream. And it bothers me.

For a while, I thought about telling Jake. He's better at thinking about all this psychology stuff. Heck, he's better at thinking, period. I haven't said anything yet, though. I mean, sure, he's the best friend and partner a kat could ever have—but he's gotten so used to my silly crud, sometimes he doesn't really know when to take me seriously. That's my fault, not his. Besides, when I think about it, it does seem kinda dumb getting worked up over a dream.

So I puzzled it out all on my lonesome for a while… and I finally admitted to myself that I understood what it meant. In hindsight, I guess it was pretty obvious, but I just didn't want to face it.

The simple truth is, sometimes I'm afraid Chance Furlong is the real mask.

See, a mask is more than just a piece of cloth. A whole lot more. There's a heavy price to pay for giving it a piece of your life. Everything that makes you special belongs to that mask… and what's left over becomes something you're not. Just a shell to protect the secret.

I think it's different for Jake. As Razor, he's cocky as anything—but underneath his mask, the real Jake is a pretty shy guy. He doesn't mind hiding out from the world in the grease pit. He doesn't crave the real credit for the things we do, the lives we save, the times we risk our tails.

But me… I'm a pilot, and a darn good one. I'm snarky and brash and self-confident.

I'm T-Bone.

And Chance Furlong can be none of those things.

The hardest part is seeing Callie—Miss Briggs, that is—when she brings in that big green jalopy of hers to the garage. The way she smiles and says "thank you" to Chance isn't the way she says it to T-Bone… the way I want to hear it. All she sees is a brawny scrapyard kat who lives his life under the hood of a car. She doesn't see what's really me, and I can never let her—for my sake, for Jake's, and especially for her own. She runs plenty enough risks being Deputy Mayor, without knowing the secret every megavillain within a thousand miles would sell what's left of their souls for.

That's the difference, again, between Jake and me. He's more of himself around her.

Maybe that's why she smiles at him a little differently.


© 2004 Jordanna Morgan