Chapter 6: Home is Where the Heart Is
He climbed out of his vehicle and walked up the stairs and through the huge doors of his headquarters. He was moving with great difficulty by this time as exhaustion dragged him down. He bid his Sergeant a good day since it was now just after morning shift change. The battle with Bloodnor's army had taken them past dawn but it felt like it had been all day to his body.
He punched the button for the medical floor. The doors snapped opened and he stood there rather blearily before finally moving forward just as the doors started to close again.
He made his slow way to the nurses station and waited till the shift changing staff noticed him. The departing nurse that had taken his daughter stopped before taking her leave when she saw him standing there swaying on his feet and blinking sleepily.
She clucked her tongue. The Commander was literally asleep on his feet. He really should be horizontal rather than taking his daughter home or driving for that matter. Sighing she went to his side and touched him.
He started and blinked down at her. "Ah, can I pick up my daughter now?" He asked tirededly.
"You should really have someone help you take you and your daughter home, sir. You can barely stay awake." She chided him gently.
"I know but he had something else to do first. It's been a really bad night but successful. He'll be there to help with Callista." Feral reassured her.
Sighing, she knew he wasn't fit to take care of a rambunctious kitten. "Your daughter was a bit cranky but did sleep several hours. She's awake and eating breakfast. She should be almost done. The nurses were going to take her to the playroom and she's excited about it. Why don't you leave her here, sir? You need to get some sleep and Callista won't be tired. From what you said, your mate isn't in any better shape than you. Please reconsider." She urged him.
Feral stood there indecisively for some moments. He knew he was barely functioning and Callista would know that and be unhappy. Since she wasn't pining for him yet and was being well cared for he capitulated.
"You're a credit to your profession." He said quietly. "Thank you, I will leave her here. You're right, I'm just too tired to entertain or care for a busy kitten like my little one. I'll be back for her by at least quitting time."
"A wise decision, sir. Be careful getting home and a restful sleep to you. We'll keep Callista busy. When does she normally take a nap and what are her favorite foods?" She asked briskly.
After giving her all the information she needed to keep Callista happy. He said goodbye and returned to the elevator and went back down to the lobby. Moving with intense concentration, he pushed his body toward his car, got in, and drove carefully for home.
It was with great relief that he pulled into his parking spot, locked his car, and made for the elevator in his apartment building. He found the door to his apartment unlocked and sighed gratefully, shoving his keys back into his pocket and opening the door. He stepped in and relocked it behind him. He began to strip before he really got far into the room, his eyes barely open. He felt someone helping him off with his coat and a warm nuzzle on his neck.
Sighing happily he turned and kissed his mate who was dressed in sweats and long sleeved tee, his feet bare and still wearing his mask.
"Where's Callista, Uly? Is she alright?" T-Bone asked anxiously as he hung up his mate's coat.
"She's fine. The nurse that is caring for her told me that except for a short bout of crankiness, she slept well and was eating breakfast and looking forward to going to the playroom. She told me to leave her and get some rest. She was right of course. Neither of us could handle a wide awake kitten in our condition so I left her. I'll get her this evening." He told the tabby.
"Ohh, okay that definitely makes sense. Shows how tired I am too for not thinking of it. Anyway I got some take out. Let's eat and crash. I don't think I'll be able to see straight for long." T-Bone said yawning hugely.
Feral yawned as well. "Don't do that! It feels like I'm splitting my face open. Glad you got food. I forgot that entirely. Ohh...uh...Razor...is he?" He asked as he belatedly remembered the smaller SWAT Kat had been vanished somewhere.
"Oh yeah, he's fine and pissed too. Bloodnor sent him to the other side of the MASA port. Glad he hadn't made him appear in a wall like a couple of enforcers I heard about. That was nasty. I picked him up and took him home then hopped on my cyclotron to get here just ahead of you." T-Bone said in relief as he led the way to the kitchen.
"Oh good, glad he's okay." Feral said as he followed his mate.
He searched the containers of food on the kitchen table and made up a plate and sank down into his seat with a groaning sigh. T-Bone had poured them milk and he grabbed one and drank down half of it only just realizing how thirsty he was.
They ate in hungry silence until they were finally full. Slowly putting the left over food away and the dishes in the sink, they moved off to the bedroom. If T-Bone hadn't been there he might have just crashed on the bed but his mate gently helped him undress and steered them both to the bathroom and turned on the shower.
Very quickly the shower was pouring out steam and he pushed his barely awake mate into the shower stall. Feral gasped as the hot water struck him then moaned in pleasure as he leaned his face against the wall and let the water pound his tired body.
Using so much magic, T-Bone knew, had completely drained his mate. He wasn't as tired as Uly so he quickly soaped down his dark furred mate and rinsed him then quickly did himself. He shut the faucets off and coaxed his mate to the dryers. They stood there for some minutes until their fur was reasonably dry.
T-Bone had already pulled down the covers so pushed Uly to the bed and tucked him in when he literally collapsed on it. He turned out the lights then climbed in behind the big tom, wrapped an arm around his waist and quickly surrendered to sleep.
It was already late, nearly six in the evening when the two males finally stirred. Feral yawned and stretched his whole body. He felt much better though he probably could sleep another eight hours to really get rested. He turned to look at his clock near the bed and his eyes flew open in a panic. He flipped the bedding off and slipped out of the bed and hurried to the bathroom.
T-Bone groaned and blinked sleepily. He just caught the back side of his mate hurrying to the bathroom. 'Huh!' Was all his mind could articulate at first then he noted the time and his eyes widened behind his mask. 'Oh shit!' He thought, 'No wonder Uly's in a rush. He's late to pick up Callista.'
Feral came back out of the bathroom and hurriedly pawed through his drawers getting underwear and other things on.
"Don't worry about getting into uniform, love. You'll be going back to bed anyway after dinner." T-Bone told him.
Feral glanced at his mate and frowned but decided the tabby was right so opted for a pair of slacks and a polo shirt. He slipped on a pair of loafers and made for the living room.
T-Bone heard him rummaging around, probably getting his keys and wallet, then the slamming of the door. He shook his head and laid back down. He would get up here shortly so that he'd greet his daughter at the door.
As he drove quickly to Enforcer Headquarters, Feral hoped Callista wasn't upset by him not being there. At least he wasn't too late and he did feel better. He made it there in very little time despite it being just an hour past quitting time. He parked and strode up the stairs quicker than he had that morning and made for the elevator. When it opened on the medical floor, a head nurse was just whizzing by when she saw him.
"Oh, Commander, good evening, sir. You look rested. Give me a moment and I'll get Callista." She smiled distractedly and hurried on down the hall.
Feral eyed her retreating back in bemusement. He forgot shift change on the medical floor would be very busy especially with some of the more lightly injured enforcers from the battle taking up most of the small ward. The more seriously injured were at the trauma hospitals.
He decided to cruise the hall and peek in at some of them. They were surprised and pleased to see their Commander. He checked to see how they were doing and wished them a quick recovery. He continued down the hall looking into each room. The head nurse caught him as he left the last room, her arms full of his happy, bouncing kitten who was excited to see her mother.
"Mama...mama..." She burbled loudly.
There was no little surprise from some of the patients and some nurses who were not aware that Feral was a mother not a father. Hermaphrodite male pregnancies were very rare.
"How's mama's little one? Were you good for the nurses?" He asked feeling joy holding his kitten in his arms and nuzzling her warmly.
"Yeth mama...you gone long...not happy.. where you?.." She chirped in admonishment, her little face frowning.
"I'm sorry but I was saving the city!" Feral said seriously to her.
"Oh then that okay!" She said breaking into a broad smile again.
It never ceased to amaze him that his one year old daughter was so bright and talking in near complete sentences at such a young age. She completely baffled her pediatrician. He was told she was off the scale on the intelligence quotient. He didn't care, it made it soo much easier when he had to leave her that she understood fairly well and accepted it.
Strangers, though, thought her odd and were always taken aback when she could speak clearly to them and the fact she understood most of what was being said to her was more than a little disconcerting to most adults.
It might become a problem later, but he liked to think he and T-Bone would find a way to deal with it. As a matter of fact, Razor was a genius and might provide a great deal of insight on how best to care for her intellectual needs. He would keep that in mind for when it became necessary.
Taking her bag of things from the nurse and thanking her for taking such good care of her, he prepared to leave when Callista sang out a 'thank you' as well. Everyone smiled at that. The nursing staff were smitten with her and considered him a very lucky Kat. He thought so too.
He walked out with her into the gradually increasing dusk of evening, strapped her into her seat and listened as she told him about her day as he drove them home.
When he had parked the car, he went around to release her from her seat and found she had figured it out and was just waiting for him to pick her up. He shook his head in amazement. He grabbed her bag then held his arms out and she jumped into them, wrapping her little arms around his neck. He locked his car and carried her through the parking garage to the elevator. He let her hit the button to their floor and wasn't really surprised when she got it right.
She was bouncing excitedly by the time he reached his apartment door and it opened to reveal her father. She practically leaped from Feral's arms to T-Bone's, laughing and calling 'Dada' in delight.
T-Bone grinned widely at his kitten's exuberance and swung her around to her shrieks of delight. Feral smiled as he walked past them into Callista's room to empty her bag. Moments later, Callista came running in to grab a toy and then run back out to her father. Feral shook his head. He was still amazed by the joy he felt over Callista. She was the only thing he could actually thank Bloodnor for. If it weren't for his desire for an heir, Feral would never have known such happiness in his life.
Five years have passed since the battle with King Bloodnor and his army. There had been no sign of his return and Feral felt there might never be another visit by the lion. His life had been happy and content at last, the nightmares disappearing completely.
Dark Kat had finally overextended himself and ended up being killed by Dr. Viper. Viper himself messed with one two many chemicals and ended up accidentally altering himself into a non-sentient plant. The only enemies worth mention that plagued the city sporadically were the Pastmaster, Turmoil, and an assortment of accidentally created criminals from experiments out of Pumadyne.
He really wished he could just shut down the facility. Professor Hackle was in definite agreement on that subject. The Professor had finally perfected some helper robots for Katkind as he'd always dreamed he could do. Some were in the medical field, others were kitten minders, still others did the jobs that were far too dangerous for living Kats to perform. The Metallikats had fortunately made the mistake of getting caught in a cross fire with the SWAT Kats and a really bad electrical storm. There was no way for them to be coming back in this life.
As he feared might happen, little Callista was so intelligent that she was being segregated in school. Feral and T-Bone wouldn't allow that to happen to her so on the suggestion of Razor, they had her spend her time with Professor Hackle and a nanny bot. Hackle adored the bright kitten and was endlessly patient with her many questions as was the specialty robot that had been designed with her brilliance in mind.
To ensure she got plenty of socialization, they entered her in a playgroup twice a week and she spent a few hours a day at the daycare within Enforcer Headquarters being with kittens her age just to play and be a little kitten.
T-Bone and Feral spent a great deal of time with each other and over the years had truly fallen in love. They had finally broken down and purchased a secluded home where they could actually live together. Callista benefitted having both her parents now around all the time. Though her family life was unusual, she was a well adjusted and happy kitten.
As an anniversary present, T-Bone gave Feral his identity. He was suitably shocked to learn his mate was Chance Furlong but shrugged it off. He was far too contented to be troubled by it any longer. He eventually found a way to shunt funds to pay for the debt his mate and Jake owed on the repair of the Enforcer Building so that they would no longer be burdened by it and could seek other work.
Thinking long and hard, Jake finally decided to sell his designs to other countries since he was still blacklisted in Megakat City. Gradually, he made enough money to build them a more secure and safe hangar in the mountains like he'd always hoped to do.
The garage was closed and the hidden old hangar was sealed up so no one could find it. Chance banged around a bit, tested the new equipment Jake was forever inventing for the jet and its weaponry, spent a lot of time with Callista, frequently he could be found with his daughter tinkering around with Professor Hackle on some of his projects. He was content. Jake spent his time designing and splitting his time between their hidden hangar and his small place he bought to meet other inventors and fems.
In a dimension far away, a King mourned still for his lost consort. He went a little mad and waged war on his neighbors not caring if he died or not. His fury and sorrow knew no boundaries. Finally King Warkil had had enough and after a major battle killed Bloodnor and put him out of his misery. He put one of his high-ranking lords in command of Celestor Castle. Most of the present residents of the castle fled for other kingdoms the rest suffered under the brutal heel of Warkil.