HOPES AND DREAMS

Chapter 10: Epilog

Grief hung heavy upon T-Bone and Feral for some months but it wasn't as debilitating as the initial occurrence. They took a short leave to be with their son and away from well meaning co-workers and friends. It was worth it as they returned to work feeling much better.

Steele's comprehensive report on Sabren's turned into a published handbook read by all and required reading for all employers of Sabrens. Many prominent Sabrens gave Steele accolades for a fine piece of work and for providing a wonderfully concise guide on their species. He had supplemented his data with historical information from Dr. Sinian and from the doctors at the Sabren Hospital. Just two months in bookstores and it made the best sellers list. Later that year, he received a Literary Award for it and plenty of ribbing from his proud co-workers. Commander Feral gave him a special award for his hard work.

Ms. Briggs felt the handbook was such an important piece of work that she pushed the Mayor to have Steele officially recognized for it. Steele was overwhelmed by all the outpouring his handbook had garnered. He was embarrassed and proud, a far cry from the arrogant and weak officer he'd been the year before. Feral was truly proud of his second and felt more comfortable with leaving him to handle things and perhaps be the next Chief Enforcer.

Stone had the misfortune of going through a fast delivery. His only good luck was he happened to be getting his checkup when he went into labor. Having it at the hospital was infinitely better than being caught in a cruiser on patrol for which his partner, Forester was forever grateful.

Drake became pregnant six months after he and Nick had mated. He got huge rather quickly much to his displeasure. Nick tried to soothe him but to no avail. He hated being pregnant. He would have been pleased to have known his Commander shared his annoyance at it. Their attitude toward motherhood made the doctors work more difficult.

He was always irritable and his squad mates learned not to cross him. An example of his extreme prickliness occurred one day when he was at least five months pregnant.

He was getting the days notices when someone bumped into him hard. He whirled and hissed showing fangs. The miscreant swallowed hard and quickly back pedaled, holding his paws up in apology.

"Geez, sorry Drake. Baker pushed me!" Officer Drawner said placatingly.

"Yeah! I'm sorry, guy. I was just horsing around." Baker said in apology.

Drake calmed himself and turned back to the table to finish what he had been doing without a word. His fellow officers wisely left him in peace. Shaw waited for him in the cruiser. He had learned quickly not to tease Drake too much and definitely not get into argument with him. He was soo glad Sabren pregnancies were very short. He didn't think he could take Drake's behavior over a longer period.

The end of the year rolled around rather quickly. Near the holidays, Drake went into labor.

He and Shaw were on patrol one cold November evening when he moaned suddenly and doubled over. Shaw looked at him in momentary fright before snapping himself back to the matter at hand.

"Dispatch! This is car 19, my partner has gone into labor. Heading to Sabren Hospital asap. Send someone to cover our patrol, over!" He snapped into the radio.

"Roger car 19, acknowledge. Car 12 is on its way to your location." Dispatch responded quickly.

"Dispatch, thanks, send an urgent call to Drake's mate to meet us there. He's at Firehouse 60."

"Roger! Notifying!" Dispatch acknowledged and clicked off.

Gritting his teeth Shaw put on the sirens and raced to the hospital. Beside him, Drake ground his teeth together and held on to the dash in a death grip. A growl of pain was forced between his teeth as Shaw sped onto the emergency ramp of the hospital.

The siren had alerted the ER staff to an incoming so they were already coming out when Shaw brought the cruiser to a quick halt.

He jumped out of his seat and went around the car.

"Sabren in labor. I've put in a call for his mate. He should get here really quick." He told the ER docs.

"Good! Okay guy let's get you on a gurney." One of the doctor's said as he helped Drake free himself from his seat belt and stand up. A gurney had been quickly rolled out and was now pushed close so that Drake could just sit on it easily. Once he was securely on the gurney they began to roll him inside.

A siren was heard rushing close then screaming up the ramp behind Shaw's cruiser. A paramedic truck rolled in and stopped. Out jumped Nick in his fire gear. He ran up to the gurney and walked with them into the ER.

"Hey love, I'm here!" He said as he took his mate's paw in his. Drake looked at him in relief before another contraction hit.

In very little time Drake was taken up to the delivery ward. His delivery would take six hours and was definitely no fun. Though not nearly as agonizing as a fast delivery, it was still exhausting and hard. By midnight, he was safely delivered of his Sabren kitten.

"Oh Tommy, he's beautiful!" Nick said in a hushed voice as he stared down at his new son.

"Of course he is, he has a beautiful father!" Tommy snorted tirededly as he too stared at the bundle in his arms. He was a mother, what a strange feeling. He had started the year not wanting to be mated...ever...to having the love of a wonderful tom kat and now a son...what a year it had been.

On the anniversary of the miscarriage, Feral came into heat again. This time it was an easy and straight forward pregnancy. For the earliest part of it, Feral was nervous and tense. It took all of T-Bone's soothing skills to help his mate past the point where he had lost their second.

True to who they are, Feral's labor began during an emergency for the city.

He was on scene of a mess created by Pastmaster. His mate had routed the sorcerer rather quickly this time but not before he left behind a huge mess from more dinosaurs. It was during the round up of the last one that his labor began.

He had been standing with Steele as he directed his troops on how to corner and gas the huge armored triceratops. As the thing screeched then collapsed on its side, Feral nearly dropped his megaphone when a sharp pain lanced across his belly.

"Argh...Kat's Alive! That hurt!" He growled.

Steele looked at him in consternation then called over the radio, "Dispatch give me an open frequency." He barked quickly then when he received the go-ahead, "SWAT Kats, Feral has gone into labor, get your tail down here asap."

"Roger!" Came the immediate response from T-Bone who had already felt Feral's pain through their link.

T-Bone found a small area to set down and wasted no time leaping out of the jet to his mate.

"Come on love, time to leave the work to Steele." T-Bone admonished his mate, handing the megaphone to Steele.

"Steele, get that thing over to the zoo!" Feral ordered.

"Don't worry sir, we'll get it there." Steele told him.

Razor was waiting by the jet as T-Bone walked his mate over to the ramp.

"Looks like we have time for once, buddy." Razor observed, since Feral was able to keep moving unlike the last time.

"Yeah, a long delivery for once." T-Bone agreed with relief as he helped his mate aboard.

Feral would have argued how much better that form of delivery was when he labored over the six hours. It was absolute hell! Even though the fast delivery was extremely painful, this being strung out over time was worse but finally he gave birth to a beautiful daughter.

"Ah, she's a dream, love!" T-Bone said with a most besotted look on his face as he held their daughter.

"Yeah, she sure is." Feral sighed in exhaustion but smiled as he watched his mate.

"Mommy!" Cried an excited voice.

Appearing in the arms of Razor was their son, Jeremy. Razor carried him close so that he could hug his mother.

"Lookee here, Jeremy. Here's your new sister!" T-Bone told his son as he lowered the bundle enough for his oldest kitten to see.

"Oooooh, she's tiny!" Jeremy said, eyes wide with amazement.

"She'll grow fast then you'll have someone to play with." Feral said indulgently.

Their son scrunched his face and pouted, "But she's a she!" He said in the logic that only two year olds can have. Both his parents and Razor burst into laughter.

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