Disclaimer: I don't own Swat Kats, period.
Thanks to my reviewers. I love reviews, please review.
As promised the time for friends to reunite has come. This chapter rotates between Jake and Chance's POV. I think the divisions are pretty obvious, if anyone is confused contact me. Okay on with the story.
I watch from the side of the road as Abby turns the car around and starts to drive in the direction of the city. Once the car is finally out of sight I lower my bag to the ground and pull off my baseball cap. I run a nervous paw through my hair before putting the cap back on and pulling it down so it shades my face.
With a sigh I grab the bag from the ground and count to ten before I start walking toward the scrap-yard. I top the small hill that had hidden my arrival and look down at the yard as a pit forms in my stomach. It's been almost a year since I was last here. As I look out over what I left behind I suddenly don't want to be here. I almost turn and run but a little annoying voice in my head stops me.
You can't run Jake, if you run now this will haunt you the rest of your life. I shift the bag a little higher on my shoulder and look over the yard. Not much has changed in the last year, sure the piles of scrap have grown but the place is still basically how I remember it.
I look toward the horizon and sigh. The sun is just starting to set and Chance would have shut the garage down about a half an hour ago. I won't have to deal with annoying customers and it will be just me and Chance, face to face for the first time in a year.
All I have to do is jump the fence and trigger the alarms. That way Chance will have warning of my presence and I'll know I've done something to warn him. If I really wanted I could deactivate the alarm system we had installed around the parameter and just walk up to the house unannounced. I don't want to do that though. I don't think Chance would appreciate that too much.
Slowly I force myself to start moving again. All too quickly I'm at the parameter. Unless Chance has expanded the itI shouldn't have triggered anything yet. The fence is pretty low; we had a damn good alert system installed before I left so a high fence wasn't necessary.
I consider leaving my duffel bag outside the fence but decide against it. Knowing what I have to do I remove the bag from my shoulder and launch it over the fence. It skids to a halt and launches a small cloud of dust into the air. I count to ten again before following my bag. The scarring on my back protests the sudden motion and I almost fall. Fortunately I'm able to recover and land in a crouch on the opposite side of the fence.
I get up, dusting myself off as I do so before dusting off my bag. When I have most of the dust off my clothes and bag I pick the bag up and start making my way through the yard toward the house. I'm sure that by now Chance has realized that he has an intruder and it will only be a couple minutes before he's out here investigating.
What the heck is that buzzing? I ask myself as I slide out from under the Turbokat. As I walk toward the control panel I run my hand along the freshly polished surface of our jet. She will always be our jet, nothing will ever change that. Jake put too much time and effort into our baby for me to consider the Turbokat mine alone. If he doesn't return then at least I'll have something important to remember him by.
I've worked by tail off keeping her in as near to perfect shape as possible. I am still a Swat Kat after all and where would the Swat Kat's be without the Turbokat? I finally reach the control panel and flip a couple switches till I find out what the heck is buzzing. I'm more then a little surprised when I realize that the parameter alarm is going off.
I've already shut down the garage for the night so it can't be a customer. Maybe it's Callie. The poor she-kat comes around once or twice a week. She doesn't want to be alone right now and I can't blame her. She misses Jake almost as much, if not more, than I do.
I head for the ladder and make my way up to the house. If it is Callie then I should at least be there to greet her. I can just see myself climbing out of the hanger and having to explain why we have a hanger under the house.
Once I'm upstairs I flip the porch lights on and look outside. There is still some natural light but I don't see Callie's car. Concerned I step outside and scan the part of the yard I can see. Nothing moves and I start to wonder if the security system has a glitch in it. It hasn't needed to be worked on since Jake disappeared but you can never be too sure with that kind of stuff.
To be sure nothing is amiss I decide to check things out on my own really quick. Once an Enforcer always and Enforcer and all that jazz. I curse my paranoia out-loud as I head back inside to grab my jacket.
I know when Chance comes out on the porch because of the glow that comes from the lights he turned on as he did so. I can't see the house yet but I can hear Chance cursing about something. A small smile crosses my lips. At least some things don't change.
Chance is fumbling around on the porch again and I can hear him moving in my direction. A feeling of numbing dread settles in my stomach and I have to force my body to move in his direction as well. I can do this. I don't have a choice now. Chance rounds the corner of the scrap pile that had separated us first and stops.
"Can I help you? This is property of the city government and you are trespassing." I try to speak but my mouth is suddenly dry. I can feel my paws trembling slightly and I grip the strap of my bag tighter. It takes all my effort to keep from running then and there. Finally I manage to speak.
"Chance?" I'm lucky I get that much out before my throat tightens and I can't speak anymore. Chance is staring at me in shock and I'm suddenly terrified that he's going to start yelling at me.
"Jake?!" His voice is a mixture of disbelief and relief. I nod weakly and the next thing I know he has crossed the distance between us and pulled me into a tight hug. I can't take it anymore and the shaking moves from my paws to my body. My bag slips from my arm and falls unnoticed onto the ground.
Much to my relief Chance doesn't seem like he's angry, at least not right this second. I can feels waves of concern and relief rolling off him and they make me shake even harder as a year's worth of fear and pain release themselves all at once. There is nothing I can do but stay there and let Chance support me because I know I'm not going to stand on my own for a couple minutes. Much to my luck this seems to be exactly what he is doing.
I didn't know what to expect after grabbing my jacket and heading out into the yard. I definitely didn't expect to find some kat wondering around, let alone Jake. I knew when he whispered my name that it was Jake. There was no mistaking his voice even if his appearance had changed.
I can tell just by holding him against me that he has lost a lot of weight. He's shaking so badly and tears are rolling unhindered down his face. I think I'm crying as well but don't acknowledge them. Wiping them away would mean letting go of Jake and I'm afraid that if I do he will end up being some kind of figment of my imagination.
He seems so fragile. Gently I start rubbing my paws up and down his arms. This seems to calm him and he slowly moves back a little so I'm not completely supporting him like I was before. He won't look me in the eye and this concerns me more then anything.
"Jake?" He still won't look at me. "It's okay buddy just calm down." My words seem to have the opposite affect on him then I had hoped. Holy kats he looks so small. He looks healthy though, that's a relief. I'm worried sick about him but I have to stay calm. If I freak out then it's not going to help him. He looks about ready to fall over. I make a decision and slowly move toward Jake. He is purposely avoiding my gaze. I can tell and the hat he's wearing isn't helping.
He still shaking, less then he was a second ago but it is still visible. I reach down slowly and pick up the duffle bag from the ground then speak to Jake again.
"Let's get inside. It's too cool to stay out here." He nods and moves away from me completely. As he does so his kneesstart to buckle, before he can hit the ground though I move forward and catch him. I gently lift him into my arms and realize just how lite he really is. He buries his head on my shoulder and I can hear a muffled
"Thanks Chance." As I carry him inside. I lower him into the recliner and he immediately curls into a tight ball. I decide then and there that if Dark Kat did this to him then he is a dead kat. No one does something like this to Jake without facing my wraith.
"Jake, its okay buddy. Look at me. You are safe I'm not going to let anything hurt you." I gently take his paw but he pulls back from me. I take the reaction in stride and gently probe him for information.
"What happened Jake? I know this is going to be difficult but I need to know what happened to you." My voice is gentle and soothing, like a father talking to his kitten. "You can tell me Jake. I promise I won't hurt you.
Holy kats he wants me to tell him what happened. I won't look at him as I speak. "Dark Kat, almost six months." Are the only words I manage to get out before I start crying again. Chance stiffens at the mention of Dark Kat but his anger immediately turns to concern for me.
"I thought you had abandoned me. It was nearly six months Chance." I manage to choke out in a whisper. Chance looks down at the floor before looking back at me.
"I didn't give up Jake, I promise. God I've been searching for you since the day you disappeared. Everybody else had given up hope that you were alive." Chance's admission that he was concerned about me and didn't give up searching for me causes a burden to lift off my shoulders.
He didn't abandon me. How could I have been so stupid? I still haven't looked at Chance in the face. He hasn't seen the scar tissue yet. My hair and the hat cover most of it. I don't want him to know the details but he will see it soon enough.
"I'm sorry Chance; I should have had more faith in you. I didn't know what to think though. I was terrified. It was so bad you have no idea." I lean back in the chair and my hair falls away from my face to reveal part of the scar tissue. "There was nothing I could do to stop them. I can't count the number of times he beat me"
Chance is staring in horrified silence at the side of my face. He reaches forward slowly and brushes the tip of his fingers against the tissue. I flinch and Chance starts crying.
"I'm so sorry Jake." I nod weakly.
"It's not your fault Chance. You weren't there; you couldn't have prevented what happened." He doesn't look convinced but he accepts it.
"I'm just glad you are alive. Jake, that's all that matters. I'll help you get through this." He pauses. "Is there anything else I should know? You said you were a prisoner for almost six months, where did you go after that?"
I take a deep breath. This is when I tell Chance that I was too scared to face him till now. "I got taken in by a sweet-hearted widow. She found me passed out on her property after I managed to escape and she nursed me back to health. I've been working with her son out in Breston for the past 4 months." I swallow hard.
"I was too scared to come back Chance. I didn't know how you would react. I needed to recover and learn to live with what happened before I could pick up my life again." Much to my relief Chance seems to understand. He listens to my story and his only comment is that he wished I had called him. He wouldn't have cared where I was just so he had known I was alive. I feel bad about that and he can tell so he lets the subject drop.
As we have been talking I've slowly started to relax more and more. It feels good to have my best friend back and I can tell Chance feels the same way.
"Callie has been worried sick about you." I look at Chance in shock. We had decided to move the conversation away from my captivity since it made me so uncomfortable and Chance had started telling me about what had happened here.
"What do you mean?" I ask.
"The girl loves you Jake. I can call her and have her come out. She will be overjoyed to see you." My mind is still stuck on the word love.
"She can't love me, not after what I did to you two." Chance is smirking at me.
"Well she's crazy then because she does love you. I'll call her so you can come out. I think hearing from her will do you good." Before I can stop him Chance is already on the phone with Callie. I can't help but feel a little bit nervous. I haven't seen her in almost a year. Despite my nerves Chance's concern for me is comforting.
Chance hangs up the phone. "She's on her way. I didn't tell her about you, just that I needed her to come out." I nod as I sit there. The butterflies are coming back as we sit there in silence waiting for her to show up. Eventually we hear a car in the lot and Chance goes out to meet her. I stay on the couch and the two enter chatting about something. Callie turns toward me and stares at me like she has seen a ghost. Suddenly the biggest smile I've ever seen graces her face and she races over to me and throws herself into my lap.
We are both crying as I pull her close. She buries her face on my shoulder and I start running my paws through her hair. As I do this I whisper gentle apologies in her ear. She calms and looks up at me to notice the scarring for the first time. This is the moment of truth. I fully expect her to be repulsed. Instead she reaches up with delicate fingers and gently touches the damaged tissue. I have to force myself to not pull away as she rubs her paw across the marks.
"It's okay Jake. I'm here now and Chance and I are always going to be here for you." I feel tears spring to my eyes as she speaks to me. Her voice is so gentle and sweet that I can't help but believe her.
"Thanks Callie." I shiver. "I think if you guys can help me that I'll get past this and move on with my life."
WOOHOO, finished, well maybe a short epilogue but nothing major. I haven't decided yet.
I hope everyone enjoyed this fic. It's my first Swat Kats fic and my first major fic on this site.
REVIEWS, I need many many reviews now that this fic is finished. Tell me what you liked, didn't like? Do you guys want a sequel or an unrelated story? I have an idea for a Swat Kats fic that's completetly unrelated to this one. Let me know what you guys think.