HELL IS LIKE THIS, PART III
Chapter 1: Rekindling Old Ties in One Dimension, Beginning a New One In Another
Now that Ulysses had made up his mind to change his life's direction, he had to find a way to get close to his target. Unfortunately, every time he succeeded in getting close enough to attract Jaren's attention he would get a terrible case of nerves and back away. He couldn't believe this. He'd faced Dark Kat numerous times and it scared the pants off him every time but this seemed to be more terrifying.
A shrink would have told him it was the fear of rejection that was holding him back, but he wouldn't have listened so here he was making attempt after attempt without once succeeding in getting close to the object of all his hopes and dreams.
He thought, ironically, that this must be how Jaren felt all those years ago pursuing a young tom bent on his career and blind to all else including another's desperate desire.
So here he was at yet another function, this time sponsored by Jaren and again, he could only watch from the sidelines as he tried to get up the courage to approach the handsome silver furred tom.
Jaren glanced to the side and saw the powerful form standing across the room. The huge tom was talking to a small group of important city officials. He felt a tightness in his chest as he turned back to the conversation in front of him.
Every time he saw the dark tom it dug into his heart. Even after all this time he could not let go. He sighed to himself and frowned as a niggling suspicion told him the Chief Enforcer was attempting to speak to him but each time the Commander would turn away at the last moment. At all the events they'd been required to attend together it seemed the dark tom was staring at him.
Shaking his head violently, he had to stop this, it was only fanciful thinking on his part. He stalked away to another part of the room where he couldn't see the object of his long unrequited desire.
Some time later, Jaren smoothly slipped free from yet another husband seeker and moved off to get some fresh air. Sighing with relief, he drank his wine and breathed in the night air on the relatively quiet balcony.
"Seeking a little privacy?" Came a deep voice from a shadowed corner.
Jaren startled at the sound of that particular voice, his chest tightened again when the body of the voice stepped out of the darkness and moved closer to him.
"Do you want me to leave you alone?" Ulysses Feral asked softly.
"No, you're welcome to stay, after all you hate these things too." Jaren said thankful his voice was cool and bland even if his body was tight and wanting.
Sighing Feral said, "You're right there, if my presence wasn't required by his honor or my position I certainly wouldn't subject myself to this."
"Same as always, eh Ulysses." Jaren said blandly. The chief enforcer looked good. He kept himself fit because his life depended on it. The tightness in his chest had moved to his groin despite his intentions to be nonchalant
"Actually, no Jaren." Feral said hesitantly, now was his chance, if only he didn't blow it. 'Gods! Who was he kidding, I'm shaking inside. Please let me get through this.' He thought desperately.
Jaren looked at him in puzzlement, "Are you trying to say something by that comment?"
Unable to look at Jaren, Ulysses turned his attention to the gardens in the moonlight. "I recently went through a traumatic incident. When it was over, I realized that the single minded direction I'd taken with my life has left me alone and empty. The incident showed me an alternative if I was willing to take the chance." He paused nervously.
Jaren blinked in astonishment, Ulysses seemed truly nervous and... 'was he shaking?' He wondered in shocked surprise. 'Something very life altering had happened to the big tom. How did that affect himself? Did that mean what he'd hoped it meant?' His heart leaped.
Swallowing his own glass of wine, Uly gathered himself and turned back to Jaren. "I know we were close years ago. I was actually surprised to find you still unattached after all this time. I...I know I've been unapproachable and its been soo long but...crud I'm just not getting this right." He growled irritably at himself nearly turning away.
Surprised and hopeful, Jaren reached out carefully and touched Uly on the arm, "Just spit it out Ulysses. I find that's always the best way" He encouraged the nervous tom.
Uly's body tightened with desire at that light touch. He sighed inwardly with relief. He had been worried that he might not feel anything Jaren. The fact that he did made it easier to say what was on his mind, "I would like to see if there is still a chance to rekindle that closeness."
Jaren stared at the big tom in shock. He'd dreamt of this moment many times over the years and here it was at last and all he could do was gape.
When Jaren didn't speak only stared at him, Ulysses felt his heart plummet. Perhaps it had been too long after all. He gathered up his tattered dignity and moved to make a hasty retreat when Jaren tightened his fingers around Uly's wrist.
"Ulysses, are you saying you want to court me? I don't want any misunderstandings here, this is far too important to me." Jaren asked anxiously, gripping Uly's wrist hard enough to make him wince.
"Yes that's what I'm saying." He said in relief, very glad Jaren had understood.
Jaren let out a sigh of relief and hope. He released his grip and gave him a quick hug before stepping back again. He would not rush this important moment.
"I've waited a very long time for you to come around Ulysses Feral so you'll forgive me if I'd seemed stunned for a moment. Now that we've chosen to see each other, I feel it is important not to rush it. I think we should take our time and get reacquainted. So much time has passed and we both have changed a great deal." Jaren said seriously, hoping he wasn't making a huge mistake. The tom's next words made him sigh inwardly with relief.
"That's a very good idea and I agree." Feral said with a small smile. This had worked out better than he'd hoped. If Jaren wanted to take it slow then he was more than willing to do that if it meant having a chance at winning him.
Despite his mate being safe once more, the separation had badly scared them both. For a little while they couldn't stand to be apart very long. They tried to spend time in the mornings and Feral tried to never stay late at work so that he and Chance could be together, cuddle and spend time with Zira.
Jake shook his head at the temporary paranoia that was afflicting the two. He knew it would fade eventually, but right now it was causing some difficulties between he and his partner.
"Chance we need to work out. We haven't used the danger room or obstacle course in weeks. This is dangerous." Jake told his partner over their private comm.
"I know...I know, Jake...it's just...it's soo hard to be away from Uly right now." Chance said unhappily.
"I know buddy. It was very frightening for you and Feral when that happened but not keeping fit and sharp could cause Feral an even greater sorrow of you getting hurt or worse, killed." Jake said urgently.
"Sigh, you're right of course. Okay...I don't have any testing tomorrow. I was going to spend time with Zira but how about I meet you at the base at say eight a.m. for a long work out?" The tabby said.
"Fine! That will do. I'll see you there!" Jake agreed, sighing with relief.
Early the next morning they were running the danger room. T-Bone was a fraction of second too slow and received a jolt.
"Crud! That stung!" He groused.
"It's the only way to ensure we push ourselves buddy. Can't get too slow, after all, the omegas are getting a little too canny lately for my liking." Razor said calmly. "Shall we start again?"
"Yeah, yeah." T-Bone grunted returning to the starting point.
They ran through the room three times before calling it a good workout. Next they went to their martial arts mat and changed into Ghi's. Razor was beating the pants off T-Bone and he wasn't happy about it.
"Damn it, T-Bone! You're moving far too slow and cumbersome. Look maybe you should practice with Feral. He's not that far along and he's big enough to give you a real workout as well as himself." Razor said in disgust.
"Alright, you made your point and you may be right. Uly is pretty good at hand to hand and it could end in something more interesting by the time were done." T-Bone sniggered briefly before returning to a more serious mien. "I'm out of shape, I got that. It's going to be tough but I'll set up a practice schedule for everyday and stick with it. Once I explain to Uly why its necessary, I know he won't complain." He said quietly.
"Good! Glad to hear it. Let's stop for today and work out a schedule that will work for both of us." Razor said pleased his partner now understood his concern.
Only too soon the omegas were testing that new resolve. The practice sessions began to pay off when the high powered criminals decided to stage a crime wave. Each coming up with a new way to trash the city and not necessarily at the same time.
"Crud! We barely defeat one before another crawls out of the woodwork. Who is it this time?" T-Bone growled as he piloted the Turbokat to the site of yet another supposed omega attack.
"Actually the emergency seems to be about a runaway experiment. Some kind of mutant plant worthy of Dr. Viper. Some egghead at the Megakat University biology lab got a little too creative and now his project has run amok.." Razor reported.
"Wonderful!" T-Bone grunted as he made for the University. On their enforcer band, they heard a call from Felina stating she was also on the way to the site. He hoped Ulysses did not respond. His mate really wasn't in any shape to be answering calls anymore being nearly four months pregnant.
They arrived just ahead of the enforcers. The plant was over nine feet tall and had long whip-like vines that waved around. Some of the appendages reached out and ripped trees from the ground and others flipped cars over or tossed them. It was a mess.
Avoiding the vines, T-bone tried to get close enough for Razor to take the thing out.
"Let's try some turbo blades," Razor shouted firing them. "Bingo!" He exclaimed when he took out several vines. For a moment he was worried they would grow back like Viper's creations did but thankfully they did not. He began using the turbo blades to take out the rest.
Meanwhile, Felina and her fleet of choppers had arrived on the scene. She warned her squad to hold back a bit until she could get a feel for what was going on. As she circled around, careful to avoid the SWAT Kats targeting, her chopper was suddenly grabbed by a vine. She struggled to get her ship away but the tail rotor was snapped off.
Seeing her difficulty, T-Bone broke off the attack and sped to her rescue. Razor dropped a grappling line and Felina jumped from her wounded chopper swinging in harm's way. Razor shot at the vines with his glovatrix until he had quickly reeled her into the jet's cargo hold. He grabbed her and pulled her to safety.
He realized in surprise that she felt good in his arms. Burning with embarrassment, he shoved the unwanted feeling away as he secured the hold and made for the cockpit with Felina in tow. She squeezed beside him in the gunner's seat as he returned his attention to his targeting screen. A few minutes more and Razor had reduced the mutant plant to a wriggling blob. The enforcers ripped that to shreds in minutes.
The Turbokat landed to drop off the Lieutenant and to get a closer look at their adversary. Walking up to the shredded plant they had to hold their noses.
"Fah! That stinks!" T-Bone said in disgust.
"Yuck! What a mess, glad I'm not the one who has to clean it up." Felina said making a face. She took out her radio and ordered her choppers home. The ground based troops were doing crowd control. Sighing she put away her radio and prepared to get statements from the yahoos who had grown this mess. "Thanks for the save guys now it's just police work that's left and clean up." She said to the SWAT Kats.
"Hey! You're welcome Lieutenant. Didn't want Feral to be upset in his condition about the safety of his niece." T-Bone smiled at her warmly.
She smiled back knowing T-Bone would placate her uncle when he found out about what had happened. It actually made her life easier to have a SWAT Kat as a relative. She turned and smiled more warmly at Razor. "Be seeing you around." She murmured with a hint of something more in her eyes.
Razor blushed and simply nodded hurrying away before he said something stupid. Her look and veiled meaning had the cinnamon tom feeling heated but he was too shy to take the hidden invitation.
"I think she likes you, Razor." T-Bone said with amusement as they got ready to takeoff.
"No matchmaking T-Bone." Razor said tartly. His partner just laughed as he flew them back to the hangar.