A/N: Okay, the old format was driving me CRAZY. I couldn't type it for anything, and it was getting harder to read. So Prologue through Ch. 5 have been revamped. I like it a lot better. Anywho, FINALLY. An update. It must have seemed like I was dead or something, but quite literally, I was working on this chapter. I've never done one this long, but GOD. I've never used a song as part of a chapter either, but it worked. So, without further adue, I give you the next chapter to Jacquelyn and Evelyn's story, a look into their past.

Disclaimer: "I'm Still Here"--Treasure Planet soundtrack. Performed by Johnny Rzeznik.

Note: Text in between ~(text)~ is an interruption in Jacquelyn's story, a small flash to present. Sorry I had to type it weird, but I couldn't think of anything else.


"CLAWSON!!" Two sets of eyes raised at the outburst, uninterested stares resting on the scowling face of their 'commanding officer'. Feral stomped up to the two, his intimidation powers having worn off somewhat over the years, but his disapproving glares hadn't changed a bit. The two she-kats, used to hearing the former Enforcer commander leap down their throats, only raised their eyebrows in amusement

"Yes, Commander?" The white she-kat feigned innocence, her mocking tone only angering the aging kat farther. He seethed at them before regaining his composure as a professional, even if he really had no one left to command. These kats only followed him because so far, he'd been able to do the one thing no other place on this world had to offer: protect them and he would do so until his final breath. However, at the moment, he was only concerned with putting the two she-kats in line.

"Don't speak to me like that. You know damn well what this is about." The other she-kat, a chocolate color, titled her head to the side, trying to look confused, mocking him again.

"Do we, now?"

"Yes. Your recklessness almost got us killed." The white one glared at him. Without thinking about it, she began venting, releasing her pent up anger, a problem she'd had since their father's death.

"I didn't see you coming up with a better plan. Besides, everyone's here and in one piece, aren't they?"

"We could've lost somebody."

"But we didn't so there. Why don't you do something useful, Commander," She spat the word out like she was spitting out poison, her face twisting in anger, "and clean that sorry excuse for a gun so that next time, you'll actually be able to do something." The panther's stoic mask came off as he glared pure hatred at the rookie's words. Training under him and Felina since they were ten, the two she-kats had been getting up to their ears in trouble for the last three years, and this was the last bit he could take. However, before he could say a word, the crowd parted and an older, very furious looking, white she-kat emerged on the scene, her black ears flat against her head.

"Jacquelyn Clawson!" The fourteen year old she-kat paled at the sight of her mother, her arms crossed and her eyes narrowed in disappointment and anger. Her sister came to stand at her defense. If they went down, they went down together. Feral allowed himself a small smirk as the she-kat came forward, her emerald eyes blazing anger at her daughter's words.

"Ah, Ms. Clawson."

"Mrs. Clawson." She corrected, her gaze never leaving the two kats before her.

"Mrs....Clawson," He made the quick correction, knowing not to upset the she-kat. "Your daughters are in serious trouble."

"What kind of trouble?" By this point, Jacquelyn was doing anything to avoid looking into her mother's eyes. Evelyn, who hadn't said much, kept a shy smile while trying to avoid looking at the curious stares around them.

"Reckless endangerment, ignoring orders, backtalking a commanding officer," Jacquelyn snorted at this. Feral could be tough at times, and it usually took a lot to get him angry these days, but truth be told, the old kat was as a soft as a kit if not careful with what he said half the time. "It's obvious these two need some discipline if they're going to continue doing these raids." Jacquelyn scoffed and resumed her uninterested state of boredom. She'd heard it all before. "If it's all right with you, Mrs. Clawson, I'll be taking them from now on." Both of the teens jaws dropped and they turned to stare at Feral and their mother. She would say no, defend them and tell Feral he was crazy. She hadn't the lost the fire, the will to stand up for herself and her kits. But then, Evelyn saw a change in her mother, one she never expected to see. All these years of living in the swamp without her mate were catching up to her, and she was becoming more susecptible to taking orders.

"If it'll help, Feral." Jade eyes widened in disbelief as Jacquelyn stared at her mom. She couldn't be serious. But she didn't say anything else, her eyes downcast and clouded with disappointment and grief. Feral gave her a curt nod and turned back to the two.

"Alright. You two, come with me. I'll teach you respect, one way or another."

"Up yours, Feral! No way in Hell am I staying with you!" Several suprised kats let their mouths fall open at the she-kat's words. Feral himself was shocked but not too shocked to recognize defiance and deal with it. Growling, he pointed in the direction of the forest.

"Go."

"What?" The question came from Felina. She had known the two their entire lives, and one of few who knew who their father had been. The others were Callie and their mother. Evelyn and Jacquelyn both stared at Feral with dumbfounded looks on their faces.

"You heard me. I will not have a bunch of reckless kats endangering the lives of others. We already live a hellhole of a world. We don't need you making it anymore difficult." The she-kat beside him mouthed the word 'no' before letting her shoulders slump. The twins exchanged looks and then turned back to Feral. He couldn't be serious. Felina stepped foward, clasping his shoulder with a firm paw.

"Don't do this, Uncle. They're just kids," Felina pulled him in closer, gesturing toward the broken-hearted she-kat, "And they're all she has left." He let this sink in, let the memories come back. The mysterious deaths of Jake Clawson and Chance Furlong had been a constant subject. No one knew what had happened to the two former Enforcers and junkyard kats, but they could only guess. Clawson's mate seemed to be the only one with any real clue, but she would never talk. It had been devastating for her to lose him, especially with two, then five-year old kits. Giving a heavy sigh, he looked back at the two, still waiting for any word on their fates.

"Alright. They can stay, but they'd better start showing some respect." With that, he left, Felina nodding at them and following her uncle. The kats began to disperse, all except their mother. Once the three were alone, Jacquelyn stepped forward. "Mom, I-- I'm so--" She held up a hand, silencing her daughter. Looking up at them with pain-filled eyes, she beckoned them to follow. Jacquelyn's ears lowered and slowly she followed with Evelyn close behind her.

The walk 'home' was silent save for the occasional chirp of the crickets. By the time they reached their tents, the moon was rising in the sky. Evelyn set to work building a fire, and Jacquelyn went through their food supplies, seeing what they had and replenishing the stock with items from the earlier raid. When the small dinner was ready, Evelyn handed out the food, sitting on a log close to her mother. Jacquelyn sat across the fire, waiting. Finally, the she-kat sighed and set her plate down.

"Jackie, you've got to stop arguing with Feral. He's only doing what he thinks is best." 'Jackie' looked up, controlling her emotions the best she could as she stood up.

"His best is going to get someone killed, Mom. He calls himself a commander and yet he can't even manage to keep his weapon even half-assed decent. That's when we stepped in to save his sorry tail. Everyone made it out. Okay, so we went a little overboard with shooting those damn machines but so what? The more there are dead, the better. Right?" Silence. Emerald eyes stared in her own. Her multi-colored tail hung low, dragging in the foilage and dirt of the swamp.

"I know, but that doesn't help when you talk to him that way. He was going to exile you. Where would that leave me?" Jackie felt the anger die, replaced by realization that left her rooted to the ground. "Chance is dead. Jake, your father, is dead. I don't want to lose my kits, too. Promise me that you'll listen to Feral. Promise me, please." Jackie stayed silent, her mind spinning with the day's events. Evelyn set her plate aside and hugged her mother. It was she who made the promise.

"We'll listen to Feral. For you and dad. We promise." She was rewarded with a hug and a tearful 'thank you'. Jackie nodded her agreement then made her way to her tent. Crawling through the flap and zipping it behind her, she laid down on her dirty sleeping bag and stared at the ceiling. However much it annoyed her, she would listen to Feral if only to keep her mother happy. Turning over on her side, she curled into a ball and let herself fall asleep murmuring, "I promise."

I am a question to the world
Not an answer to be heard
Or a moment that's held in your arms
And what do you think you'd ever say?
I won't listen anyway
You don't know me,
And I'll never be what you want me to be

-------

Another three years in a desolate world. They had managed to keep their promise and obey Feral no matter how much he annoyed them. They had amazingly earned back his trust, enough to let them run around without being questioned. Ten kats had been lost in that long time, but they weren't Feral's faults. The robots had been getting better, finding them when they least expected it. Sooner or later, the swamp would no longer be the only safe haven for the refugees.

However, luck was on the side of the two she-kats. They'd heard the rumors and plans were being made. The Pastmaster, the real reason behind the Metallikats' takeover, was trying to steal back his watch. After the Metallikats' success, they had betrayed him and stole the watch with the intentions of putting him in a work camp. He escaped but had been forced to live like the refugees, constantly on the run from the robots and doing whatever it took to survive.

It was then that an idea came to them, one that would require them to leave the camps but it would be worth it.

Amber eyes stared out from the darkened trees, carefully scanning the area. Clouds covered the moon, giving off a dim light. Nothing moved. Giving the signal, Evelyn moved out from the cover of the forest and crossed the open ground. Behind her, another she-kat followed behind her, white fur shining silver in the moonlight. She could've been a ghost if not for the calico-like tail that trailed after her. Crossing in silence until they reached a boulder to hide behind, they sat to catch their breaths and still their beating hearts.

Jacquelyn peered around the boulder, practiced eyes easily picking out their target from among all the other junk. So far, they hadn't come across a single robot and both doubted that they would this far out in what was basically the boondocks.

"Alright, Eve. We're in the clear." Turning back to her sister, she flicked open her watch. 1:23 a.m. They'd been gone a little over two hours already. "We need to get the cart, load it up, and get the hell out of dodge. Let's go." Rising she started back the way they'd come, to the cart still hidden by the trees. Eve didn't move. Her eyes were downcast, staring at the ground in undisquised uncertainty. Jackie noticed and turned back to her. "Eve, you alright?"

"Is it really necessary to leave mom?" Jacquelyn didn't need the light of the moon or her own eyes to see that Eve was troubled by their decision. Even though they were seventeen, their mother still saw them as the tearful five year old kits they'd been when they first heard that their father was dead. Once she discovered them gone, she would more than likely break-down, assume that they'd been asked to join a night raid and had been captured by the Metallikats. Could they really do that to her? Jacquelyn sighed, shaking her head.

"It's for the best," Jacquelyn started, trying to convince herself, "But won't she be surprised when we come back and save all their tails." Jacquelyn smiled, flashing a set of fangs a tiger would be proud of. Evelyn's cream-white ears lowered; she wasn't completely convinced. Jacquelyn sighed, "Look, Evie. If ain't gonna be us, then who? Feral sure as hell can't do anything right anymore, and there's so much more we could do. Come on, let's show these kats that the SWAT Kats aren't just a memory." Eve stared up at her in silence for a long time before she finally smiled, grabbing Jacquelyn's paw to pull herself up.

"They'll never know what hit them." She said with a smile that was all-too-familiar.

"I'll say." Both turned at the unexpected voice, immediately jumping into defensive stances, ready for battle if need be. They relaxed as they recognized Felina stepping out from the shadows, her bushy tail hung low. Her black hair, streaked with white, hung further past her shoulders. Cautiously, Evelyn's eyes scanned the area, half-expecting to see Feral, half-expecting her mother to step out from behind the taller she-kat. "Don't worry. There's no one else here." She sighed heavily, "Just what the hell do you think you're doing?" Evelyn and Jacquelyn fixed her with a determined stare. Felina returned it, her ears half-lowered as she waited for the two answer her. Jacquelyn sighed heavily, suddenly looking older than what she really was. Hardship did that to kats.

"We're tired, Felina. Tired of the Metallikats, tired of kats dying, tired of living this way!" Jacquelyn's voice rose steadily, loud but not loud enough for them to be heard should there be anyone else around. Jade eyes stared into dark brown, challenging the older female to stop them. It was Felina's turn to sigh. She looked at the two with a mixed feeling of disappointment and sorrow.

"The Pastmaster won't help you," Felina started, her voice solemn, "He's the one who started all this. What makes you think he'll help us now?" Neither kat answered, a slight wind ruffling their fur. Darkness surrounded them as a cloud covered the moon. Evelyn, who had been silent looking at the ground, lifted her head to stare at Felina. Amber eyes blazed through the night, making Felina flinch slightly.

"We don't know anything, but we've got to try." Turning from the ex-Enforcer, Jacquelyn and Evelyn jumped up into the jet and started working. Felina watched them work and felt a small smile tug at her lips. Seeing them in the ruined cockpit, she couldn't help but picture the fallen heroes. They were always working on ways to make that powerful jet even better than it was; now these two wanted to fix it. Felina chuckled, 'Some things never change.' Two sets of eyes looked up at her, questioning.

"You two are as stubborn as your father." She dug a paw into her pocket, fumbling around until she found what she was looking for. She pulled out a small bag and threw it to the teens. Jacquelyn caught it and knew there was a set of keys in it from the clinking sound. Quickly untying the cord, she peered inside, noting the keys, a slim, black card, and a piece of paper. Curious, she looked back to Felina who was smirking, though her eyes still showed the disappointment she felt at that thought they were leaving them, leaving their mother, who would be heart-broken. She would have to make her understand, try to at least. "Everything you'll need to survive in Hackle's house. Keys, passwords, and the key card to access the security system and everything you need to defend the house." The twins' eyes widened, both incredulous as the older she-kat explained this all to them. Hackle knew about this? Hackle was going to let them use his house, his house still full of every piece of technology that had been used to build the Metallikats, Cybertron who was still there, shut down, and all the robots that now inhabited Megakat City? Evelyn and Jacquelyn both felt their mouths split into huge grins.

"Thank you..." Evelyn breathed, the gratitude aimed at Hackle. Felina knew to pass on the message to the old man. The former Enforcer nodded and turned away, intent on getting back to camp before it was her turn to watch.

"There's a transport vehicle on the other side of that ridge," She pointed to the southwest. Half a mile from where they were right now, "It's already programmed to take you to Hackle's. Please take care of yourselves. You're the only hope we have, now." With that, she walked away, disappearing through the foilage and heading for the camp. The girls grinned, Evelyn pocketing the small bag in her backpack. The pockets of her pants weren't designed for carrying anything bigger than a cell-phone, not that those were used a lot these days. Jacquelyn elbowed her sister and jerked a thumb back towards the jet. They still had to load up everything they could and drag it half a mile over a hill.

"Come on, sis. We got a city to save."

And what do you think you'd understand?
I'm a boy, no I'm a man
You can't take me
And throw me away
And how can you learn what's never shown?
Yeah, you stand here on your own
They don't know me
'Cause I'm not here

-------"You gotta be better than that, Eve!"

"Oh, yeah?"

"Omphf!" Jacquelyn fell flat on her face as Evelyn leaped clear over her, finishing the obstacle course with a triumphant grin across her muzzle. The other twin raised herself from her undignified position and glared at her sister.

"I want a rematch!" Eve shrugged, crossing her arms.

"Oh, you're just a sore loser." She replied with her tail swishing. Jacquelyn was about to reply with something sarcastic when the hissing and whirring of hydraulics alerted them to the small robot that was rolling into the room. It was about four feet tall, getting around on treads that didn't leave marks on the polished floor. In the two years they'd been staying at Hackle's, the two had managed to fix up the old mansion though it hardly needed it. Hackle had designed it to act as a fort; it would last for years. The little robot had been a big help in making sure most everything remained as Hackle had left should he ever get the chance to return.

"The parts are ready, masters." It spoke with a scratchy tone, the voice tinged with an unmistakble robotic edge. Evelyn smiled. Giving Cybertron the ability to speak had been one of her greatest achievements. It was a lot easier to interpert rather than the indistinct beeps and whirs he used to use. Yet the only disadvantage was that no matter how many times they told him not to, he insisted on calling them by names a servant would use. Master, mistress, whatever seemed appropriate at the time.

"Cybertron, I told you. Call us Evelyn and Jacquelyn," She repeated the line as she always did when he addressed them that way. To which, he would reply with a slight bow, "Yes, Mistress Evelyn." He somehow found a way to avoid calling them by just their names. Rolling her eyes, she looked back at Hackle's creation, the prototype that had once been a gift to her father and her uncle. As Hackle had once explained, Cybertron had been the basic design for the robots that were now ruling their world. He'd made changes, yes, but the intention had still been the same. Helping katkind. Evelyn snorted at the thought. Look how far that had got them.

"Thank you, Cybertron," Jacquelyn placed a hand on the small bot's shoulder, giving him a pat. Though they weren't aware of it, the little mech felt pleased by the praise he received from them. They had saved him a life of constant darkness, suspended with no real idea where he was or what was going on. The day they had showed up, they reactivated him in hopes they would help them. Of course, he would, but not just for the fact they rescued him. They reminded him so much of the two he'd been built to serve he felt like he had to help them. It was the right thing to do.

Jacquelyn looked at Evelyn, wiping the sweat from her brow, "Come on. Let's go install them." Together, the three left the training room, shutting off the lights as they went. The halls were brightly lit, all the windows boarded with a combination of wood and metal paneling. Even on the remote island that had once been part of Hackle's estate, neither wanted to take the chance of their hiding spot being revealed. If Mac and Molly knew they were here, knew what they were doing, they'd been sentenced to death immediately. It was not a comforting thought.

Coming into a rather spartan room, save for the few tables and chairs, the two kats and their mechanical friend stopped in the middle. With a loud 'thunk', they were lowered through the floor, the loud whir of the hydraulics slowly lowering the lift to the underground hanger. As lights automatically flickered on at their presensce, the two girls smiled upon seeing their pride and joy. A near finished fuselage waited for them, a base coat of black standing out among the silver walls. Several tables were scattered around the jet, unfinished pieces and design specs crowded around on top. Giving each other a smirk, they set to work. They inspected the parts they'd been working on, went over the design specs, and gave the parts that Cybertron finished a final check before installing them into the jet. Each worked at a steady pace, neither showing signs of tiring. Cybertron stayed close, obediently fetching any tool or piece they required.

They worked for hours, not bothering to take a break even when Cybertron announced that it was time for dinner. They were too close to finishing to stop now. Evelyn muttered some indistinct curse as a screw fell to the floor of the cockpit. Jacquelyn laughed and continued tightening the bolts on the panels. By the time they finally finished for the night, it was nearly midnight. The jet was nearly complete. There was still some wiring that Evelyn needed to work with, and they needed to finish painting the thing. Each kat sat in the seats they would someday being sitting in when the fighter took to the skies. Worn out, they merely sat and exchanged conversations as Cybertron went to reheat their food.

"We're getting there, Eve," Jacquelyn started, her jade eyes staring off into the distance, seeing something only she could see, "Any day now, we'll fly this baby back to Megakat Swamp and save everyone. We'll show Mac and Molly just who they're messing with." Evelyn nodded, her tired body slumped in her weapons seat, staring at the controls with great admiration.

"Yeah. We'll do dad and Chance proud," Evelyn let a heavy sigh escape her, "I wish they could see this." Jacquelyn, hearing her sister, looked over at the other. She could see the sorrow crossing Evelyn's face, the memories surfacing once again as the she-kat let her weakness show. She'd always hid her emotions away, to keep herself strong, to give her a reason to go on. Jacquelyn tilted her head to the side, an idea forming in her mind. Maybe it was time to give her a real reason. Casually stretching, her joints popped as tension was released.

"Y'know, Eve. We still haven't decided what we're going to call ourselves." She was referring to their calsigns, the names they would use when they resurrected the SWAT Kats. Evelyn stared thoughtfully at the ceiling, her moment's weakness passing her by like water over smooth stones. They'd been through the list and rejeceted every possibility. Nothing seemed to fit. Anything that seemed to work got tossed away after a few days. It was driving both of the kats insane.

Cybertron watched the two from a distance, listening intently to their musings. They kept naming off different aliases, hoping one would stick, but they never did. In two years, they'd repaired him and given him a voice, and fixed up the mansion. They had turned most the unused or decaying rooms into training rooms or obstacle courses. Even the midnight jet had been rebuilt, practically from scratch, by their paws. All of it on very scarce materials, and they had trouble coming up with fake names? To him, the answer seemed obvious what calsigns they should use.

"Well, what about 'Ghost' and 'Thorn'? They're the best out of our rejected list." Evelyn offered, absently chewing on the end of a pencil. Jacquelyn shrugged, the tip of her tail flicking up and down in mock annoyance.

"Maybe, but I was actually thinking of something more...sentimental." She wasn't sure if that was the right word for it, but Evelyn turned confused eyes on her, one eyebrow raised in a questioning manner.

"Sentimental? What do you mean by that, Jacquelyn?" Said sister let an amused smile play its way across her face, stretching out in her seat and dangling her legs over the edge of the cockpit as she let her eyes close. This earned her a scoff from Evelyn who prided herself on keeping the jet as perfect as possible.

"Don'tcha mean 'T-Bone'," She opened one eye, revealing a sparkling jade-green iris, "Razor?" As soon as the names left her mouth, Evelyn's confused expression turned to one of surprise. It was the last thing she'd expected from her sister. Carrying on 'their' names had never even occured to her, but the more she thought about it, the more it made sense. Slowly, she let a smile split her muzzle in half as she held up her thumb in a familiar gesture, speaking a word that hadn't been used in a long time.

"Bingo."

And I want a moment to be real
Wanna touch things I don't feel
Wanna hold on and feel I belong
And how can the world want me to change?
They're the ones that stay the same
They don't know me
'Cause I'm not here

-------

~As the memories passed by, Jacquelyn let a soft smile grace her lips, jade eyes sparkling with warmth. The two years they had spent at Hackle's, rebuilding the Turbokat and training themselves to be the new SWAT Kats, had been the best years of their lives. Of course, they'd never been able to push away the feelings of dread and worry for the kats they had left in the swamp, especially their mother. They'd always worried about her, wondering whether or not she was alright. Back then, their biggest fear was that something would happen to her. Jacquelyn felt her smile disappear as the thought crossed her mind. No, something had happened, something she still blamed herself for even though Evelyn had tried to convince her that it wasn't her fault.

Nearby, Chance sat in a small wooden chair that he'd pulled from the kitchen, leaning on the back of it with his crossed arms resting on the top. As he listened to Jacquelyn's tale, he couldn't help the smirk that crossed his face. Hearing how they had survived all this time, dedicating themselves to saving Megakat City, how could he not feel somewhat proud? They truly were female versions of him and Jake. The slim kat had finally joined them half-way through Jacquelyn's story, and the she-kat was forced to retell the story from the beginning, catching Jake up on the details. Now, the orange-furred tom was in the kitchen, grabbing the three of them some milk. He came back carrying three cans, handing one to Chance as he passed by the big kat. Taking a seat on the end of the couch, he offered a can to Jacquelyn who graciously accepted.

"So, before you go on, do you mind if we ask some questions?" Jake quiered, puncturing two holes in the top of can with his claw. Chance had already had his can half-gone, the rest setting on the floor beside the chair leg. Jacquelyn set her milk on the table beside her, opting to share it later with Evelyn when she woke up. The copper colored she-kat was still upstairs, passed out asleep according to Jake.

"I kinda figured you would." Standing up, she stretched her arms and legs, barely registering the prickling sensation of blood rushing back through the veins. She hadn't been aware that her limbs had fallen asleep. She sat back down after a moment, getting herself more comfortable. There was still a lot more to tell, and the questions, she knew, would all be part of it. "So guys, what do you wanna know?" Chance and Jake exchanged a brief look that told the other exactly what they were thinking.

"Well, besides the Metallikats," Jacquelyn surpressed a snarl, "and the Pastmaster," Neither Chance nor Jake noticed the uneasy look in her eyes, "What are the rest of the megalomanics doing?" Chance saw Jake roll his eyes. Jacquelyn only laughed. Of course, that's what they'd wanna know. It was rather interesting to hear how the rest of the scum turned out.

"Let's start off with the ones who are still alive." Both of the toms' eyebrows raised, curious. "Hard Drive is still around. He's with us now."

"Huh?" It came from Jake.

"Well, at first the Metallikats kept him prisoner, using him to repair themselves and keep them in good shape. He was also the programmer for most of the bigger robots. Good for us because now we have someone who knows how to deactivate them when they come after us. Anyway, it was about six years ago when Feral assigned me and Evelyn to work with him and Felina on the next raid. It had hardly been a year since the incident with the so-called Commander, and me and sis had to be nice," Her voice held the unmistakeable tone of sarcasm. Chance smirked. "It was a risky place to do a raid, though. We went to a place that used be called Murphy's Market. Y'know, the grocery store down the street from city hall.

"We honestly thought Feral was insane, but we didn't say anything. Couldn't really, if we wanted to keep our promise to mom. Feral sent the two of us in first, to scope everything out. So far, we hadn't come across any of the Metallitack units, but we could never be too careful. When we went in, we found Hard Drive in the very back of the old store. I'd never seen someone look so pathetic in my life." Jacquelyn shuddered as she remembered the way the former villian had looked the day they found him. His clothes hung off his emaciated frame, and his eyes were so sunk in, he looked dead. They had thought him dead when they found him since he hadn't been moving at all. His fur was so dirty it was almost black. Yet another classic example of the Metallikats' hate for kats. They didn't even let their mechanic stay in good health.

Jacquelyn breathed in and out before she continued, the image of the near-dead Hard Drive suddenly fresh in her mind, "Poor guy, we had to carry him out. He hardly had the strength to stand. Turns out, he'd escaped from the Metallikats a couple days before and was trying to make his way across the city to the swamps. At the rate he was going, though, he would have been dead before he even made a third of the way. Feral decided to bring him back with us."

"You took Hard Drive back?" Chance was skeptical. He figured the tech-junkie had escaped, but Chance figured that he would've gone looking for the rest of his villian buddies. Another thought cross his mind as weel: if the tech-criminal had been the Metallikats' mechanic, couldn't he have reprogrammed them or shut them down completely? His thoughts must have been obvious because Jacquelyn raised one eyebrow in a combination of amusement and seriousness.

"One, I know what you're thinking. Only Professor Hackle knows how to reprogram the Metallikats. We asked Hard Drive the same thing. He said that he may have been the one in charge of fixing them, but he didn't know anything about their central processors. He could've tried, but if something had gone wrong, Mac and Molly would've ended worse than what they already are." Jake nodded, understanding. Only Hackle knew which part of their computerized brains controlled their personalities. He had tried to reprogram them once, but they had gotten away only to find out who he and Chance really were.

"Two, we're all against the Metallikats. Hard Drive said he wanted to help to get back at those metal creeps. We took him in, got him back in somewhat decent health, and he's been building stuff for us ever since. The transport vehicles, weapons, and with some help from the Professor, these babies." She gave the black box at her feet a slight kick. It was the medical kit that she'd brought with her to the hangar. She continued on, not giving either tom a chance to ask any questions. "I don't what you'd call Viper anymore. It's not really living. More like an 'existence'."

"What's that supposed to mean?" Chance picked up his can and took another swig of milk. Jacquelyn finally gave in and opened her can, taking a small sip and savoring the wonderful flavor. Milk was another rare thing in the future. She had to remind herself that some of it was going to Evelyn, too.

"An experiment gone wrong. He started trying to find ways to improve his plantimals to fight against those bucket heads and ended mutating himself even further. Now, he's some combination of kat, snake, crocodile, and fungus. I don't what he was thinking, but all he is now is a threat." Neither Jake nor Chance wanted to picture what the mutated kat looked like. It was disturbing enough to know that he'd mutated further.

"Well, who's dead then?" Jacquelyn looked thoughtfully at the ceiling, trying to remember the all the former villians that were no longer living.

"Ringtail and Turmoil. Ringtail was shot trying to escape from their work camp. Turmoil tried to use one of our spare jets to fly back home to Russia. A Metallitack fighter got her before she could clear the city. No one knows what's happened to Chop Shop. It's assumed he's either working for Mac and Molly or he's dead."

"What about Dark Kat?" So far he was the only one who hadn't been mentioned. Anyone else they had faced were temporary villians, such as Rex Shard, or like the Ci-Kat-A and Mutilor, already dead. Jacquelyn's face took on an expression of mild surprise. She'd forgotten all about the kat that had once been the most feared in Megakat City, a title that unwillingly went to the Metallikats.

"Dark Kat? He was the first to go."

"WHAT?!" The tom kats exclaimed in unison, Jake nearly choking on his milk. Chance stood, knocking over his chair. Jacquelyn looked at them with a bemused smile on her face.

"Oh, you gotta be kidding me! We've been trying for years to get rid of him. Then the Metallikats take over Megakat City, and suddenly he's dead?!" Chance growled, punching the wall so hard it left an impression. Jake quietly seethed, knowing he'd have to fix that. Jacquelyn laughed, resting her head in hands.

"Yup. Tried to take over Metallikat City once they changed everything. You'll be happy to know you guys were the ones to take him out." Two sets of eyes turned on her, shock written across their faces. She had to supress the urge to laugh. "It was before we fled for the swamp. Dark Kat got the brillant idea of trying to overthrow Mac and Molly during a dogfight between a bunch of Metallitack units and the SWAT Kats and Enforcers. All his 'anticipating' though couldn't save him from a slightly misguided missle."

"We shot him down, and it was an accident?" Jake knew he'd missed targets before, a rare occurance truthfully, but he usually tried to make sure they were out of city limits.

"Yup. Razor fired a missile right when T-Bone was avoiding an explosive from a Metallikat fighter. It flew right over the few Enforcer jets remaining and hit the cockpit on Dark Kat's air-craft. Bye-bye, tyrant." Jacquelyn stretched again, noticing that it was starting to get late. She was looking forward to sleeping in a real bed for the first time in years. Jake and Chance sat for a moment, trying to take everything in. It was worse than what they had originally thought. The two vigilantes looked at each other and nodding, a silent agreement passing between them: destroy the Metallikats and fix the future.

Something else was bothering Jake, a thought that had been plaquing him since they'd met the two she-kats. He looked up to see her and Chance exchange some comment about Dark Kat that caused Chance to fall into a laughing fit. He realized he would disturb some peace she'd found just by being there, but now seemed as good a time as any to ask her. Breathing deep, he turned to his future daughter.

"What about your mother?" Jacquelyn fell silent, her face becoming an mask of pain and guilt. Her ears lowered in a traditional show of sorrow. She avoided looking at either tom, fixing her eyes on a spot in the ragged, dirty carpet. Seeing her like that, Jake felt his heart sink into his stomach. From her reaction, he knew something horrible had happened, and he'd forced her to relive it. Neither tom was sure what to do so they let her sit, emerald eyes stinging with unshed tears as that day unfolded before her eyes once more.~

But you see the things they never see
All you wanted, I could be
Now, you know me
And I'm not afraid
And I wanna tell you who I am
Can you help me be a man?
They can't break me
As long as I know who I am

-------

"Everyone, move! NOW!"

"Back to camp! Go!"

The two Ferals barked orders to the terrified kats running in front of them. Behind him, two containment vehicles and ten or so of the robot guards, all bearing the emblem of the Metallikats, chased the strays, bullets exploding from the end of their guns trying to take down a kat or two. They'd almost made it. The trip to the store and the time spent gathering supplies had been easy, none of the mechs around to bother. It was on the way home that they'd been spotted and response units had been called. Now, they were forced to rush through city, back to the swamp and hope to lose them, all the while losing precious supplies along the way.

Another gunshot fired, this time hitting a kat farther in front. A couple kats stopped to help him, but the rest kept going. What was one life compared to theirs? Feral mentally cursed the cowards. He'd have to lecture later; every kat's life was worth saving. The injured kat was awkwardly supported by the two who had stopped to help him, their supplies under one arm each while they kept him steady. Feral and Felina reached the three and stopped, the robots behind still pursuing them. The ex-Enforcers grabbed the supplies from the two kats, allowing them to better support their friend.

"Get him back to camp now! We'll follow you." Nodding to their commander, they took off as fast as they could. Feral and Felina hurried after them, making sure to keep them in their sights. Though she wouldn't admit it, Felina was scared. This was one of their worst raids, and she was beginning to fear that they'd be killed. The sound of jet engines roaring behind her only enhanced that fear. She didn't dare look back. They'd learned early on that looking back was one sure-fire way get caught or killed. Whichever came first.

What came first was an explosion followed by a blast of hot air, bits and pieces of metal flying past them. On instinct, the two former Enforcers dove for the ground, their supplies scattering around them. Above them, she could still hear the roaring of the jet engines as the craft hovered. That puzzled her. Normally, a Metallitack unit wouldn't just sit there while strays huddled beneath it. Cautiously, Felina sat up, looking back and marveling at the sight. The two containment bots were nothing more than piles of smoldering metal, embers from the explosion falling down around the six remaining guards. Above all of them, a midnight-black jet, trimmed red and blue, hovered just above them. The bomb-bay doors opened beneath the jet, a small platform lowering down towards them. The platform hit the ground with a soft 'thunk'. Felina and Feral exchanged a quick glance, nodding.

"Get on the jet!" Both of the ex-Enforcers said in unison, aware that the longer they stayed in one position, the more their chance of getting killed. The two kats didn't need to be told twice, scrambling onto the platform with their injured buddy who moaned as he was bumped against one of the supports. The remaining guards finally registered that they their comarades had been destroyed and turned to open fire on the black fuselage that had caused it. Feral and Felina gathered what they could of the scattered supplies and climbed onto the platform just as it was being lifted back into the jet. The doors closed and all felt the overwhelming gravitational forces as the metal bird took off, screaming through the skies as it carried them away from danger. They were safe.

They were in the cargo hold, various missiles and weaponry surrounding them yet making them feel comfortable. They'd destroyed the robots chasing them hadn't they? Everything was fine. Feral looked around with a mixed feeling of relief and disbelief. This jet had been destroyed years ago, crashing into what was left of city hall and taking its two occupants with it. The remains of both the jet and the kats had been left at what the Metallikats had called the new dump. At least, the jet had been. Up until two years ago.

Felina sighed in relief, tending to the injured kat. The bullet had dug into his side, thankfully missing anything vital, but she knew he could still bleed to death. Carefully, she bandaged the wound with a torn piece of her uniform. What did she really need it for anyway? When she asked if he was alright, he only nodded and slipped into unconsciousness. He would have to wait until he got back to camp and see Hard Drive or Professor Hackle for proper medical treatment. She took a closer look at the jet and with mounting joy realized what it meant.

"They did it," It was barely whisper, drowned out by the roaring of the engines not far away from them, but Feral had seen her mouth move, had read lips and knew what she'd said. What he didn't know was who she was talking about.

--

"Well, that was fun,wasn't it, sis?" Caramel ears twitched, meaning she'd heard the other she-kat over the engines. Taking one look in the mirror, she looked at her sister behind her, clad in a red and blue flight-suit, so similar to the one their father wore she wondered why the chocolate kat had modified it at all. the other sister was grinning ear-to-ear, her muzzle glaringly white compared to the dark mask covering her face. She, the pilot, had opted for a different look. Short pants, semi-long sleeves, long boots that tapered to point above her knees, leaving only a small fraction of fur exposed in the back of her knees. Both wore identical red-blue helmets, a large red upside-down triangle on the front. Grinning, the white she-kat called over her shoulder to the other.

"Yeah. What will be even more fun is when Feral gets a look at us."

"He'll cough up a hairball!" Both fell into fits of laughter. Feral had never been their favorite kat in the world, but he was still a good guy. A sudden beeping from the console caught the attention of the the weapons expert. Staring intently at the screen, she saw what the alarm was for. Kats. Running for their lives to get to the swamps. The robots were following, but they were far enough away from the kats that they only they would hit one would be if they stopped. Even for a moment.

"What do you got, Razor?"

"Kats. Six of 'em." She looked up from the panel. "Should we try to pick them up, T-Bone?" As much as it pained her, the pilot shook her head. Every kat had a right to live, but they couldn't afford to stop for them.

"Negative. The cargo hold is full already. One or two might be able to fit, but they'd all try to get in. No point in getting in us all killed." Razor nodded and returned to her console, keeping an eye on the kats in the cargo hold. They were passing over the kats. T-Bone looked out the canopy. They were running across a stretch of open ground, toward a line of decaying yet tightly clustered trees with enough space for a kat to slip through but not robots. Behind that, the swamp was still two miles away, but that wasn't a problem. On the other side of the small forest was a small area surrounded by debris. In the middle of that, a metal trap-door covered on top with the old and rusted metal of the surrounding piles. If the robots walked over it, the sound was muffled by the screech of bending metal. The trap-door opened into a underground tunnel that took them right to the swamp. It was how they avoided being captured all these years.

As T-Bone watched the kats make a mad-dash for the tree-line, for safety, she knew they'd be safe. All they had to do was make it there. Yet there was something wrong. Her chest tightened painfully in a way she couldn't explain. Something like foreboding filled her, and she tried her best to will it away. Deep in her mind, all irrational thought was telling her to land the jet, to pick up the kats, even it meant sacrificing the ones they'd already had on board. She looked back to ground. They were almost there. Just another 100 yards. However, something was telling her that it didn't matter, that she needed to do something. Her thoughts were running rampant, but they all voiced one simple yet complicated statement:: land the jet.

"T-Bone?" Razor's voice cut through the fog, banishing the irrational voices in her head. T-Bone shook her head. There was no way she was going to go crazy.

"Sorry, I spaced out for a moment. Come on, let's get them home." Maxing out the thrusters, she angled the jet towards the swamps, flying over the heads of the six feeling kats. They never noticed the one that stopped dead in their tracks, just feet from the trees, and neither did they hear the gunshots ringing through the air.

And I want a moment to be real
Wanna touch things I don't feel
Wanna hold on and feel I belong
And how can the world want me to change?
They're the one's that stay the same
They can't see me
But I'm still here

Feral's ears perked up as he felt the jet landing. He was certain that they were in the swamps again. The other kats looked around hopefully. They felt the light bounce as the shock absorbers on the landing gear took in the small impact of meeting the ground. Below them, they heard the hissing of hydraulics as the bombay doors opened once more, and they were lowered from the jet. This time, a very familiar sight greeted them. Trees for as far as the eye could see, greenry that over the years had become the symbol of home, and the anxious faces of kats, watching with wonderment and fear the black jet that had become a memory so long ago. Their expressions changed to ones of astonishment as Feral, Felina, and three from the raiding party appeared from the jet. The engines had died down as soon as they landed, but the occupants had yet to show themselves. 'Dramatic entrances. Just like the old two,' Feral thought with some disdain, but a feeling of nostalgia took over him.

Turning back to the two kats and their injured comrade, he pointed in the direction of Hackle's 'home', "Get him medical attention. Now." They didn't need to be told twice. With other kats coming to help, they got the bleeding tom to the medical tent. When Feral and Felina had stepped off the platform, it rose back up into the jet, the doors giving a low hiss as they closed again. By now, a large crowd had gathered around the midnight fighter, most staring with eyes wide as the moon, others with caution as if expecting it to be a trick of the Metallikats. They wouldn't put it past them. Feral himself was curious. Who was flying this jet after all this time?

He didn't have time to wonder any longer as the canopy gave an audible hiss and slid back. Two kats jumped down from the cockpit, landing easily on the damp earth. Feral's eyes widened; they were just like the old two. Red and blue outfits showed just who they were, black masks covering most of their faces, all of it bringing back memories. One had a fur color to match the SWAT Kat once known as Razor while the other was a pristine white, save for the tail, a combination of white, black, and chocolate. Why did that seem so familiar? He also couldn't help but notice that they were both she-kats. Suspicion settled into his mind, a nagging thought that would reveal itself in time.

"It's the SWAT Kats!" One voice called out over the crowd which sent everyone else into a cheering frenzy. The two she-kats exchanged a look of amusement. Or was that joy? Feral couldn't quite tell. There was a somewhat sarcastic yet kind atmosphere around them. The cheering brought him back to reality. He had some questions to ask. First, quiet the crowd.

"Enough! These are not the SWAT Kats. Just imposters," That seemed to work as a hush fell over the mass. Some exchanged looks of disappointment. Feral heard a snort behind him, the same sound he knew a disrespectful recruit had once made. He turned to see the white one glaring at him through her mask.

"Imposters? Please. You can't get any more real than this, Feral." A tone he vaguely recognized as well.

"Whose to say you're are the SWAT Kats?" He challenged, his eyes searching them both for any more signs. Why did he feel like he knew these two? Was he getting so old he couldn't remember? The caramel kat looked over her shoulder, towards an opening in the forest. That was the direction where the tunnel was located. Why was she so concerned with it? She turned back around to look at him.

"And whose to say we're not? We have the jet, we have the outfits, and we have the weapons."

"So what are your names?" Felina was hanging back. She knew who they were, could tell it in every movement they made and word they said. Even if she hadn't already known, she would've the moment she saw them. It was obvious, but the other kats hadn't given a sign to show they had a clue. They probably didn't. So she watched the three, her uncle and the two SWAT Kats, as they played some little game to prove that they were who they said they were. When they spoke again, though, she felt her heart rise in her throat.

The white-one bared her fangs in a proud smirk and answered, "T-Bone," while her partner gave a wink saying, "Razor." Feral felt his patience snap.

"You ARE imposters. They died years ago. What makes you think you can use those names?" He bellowed, his tail swishing in an agitated way behind him. For a few moments, they only stared at him, their eyebrows raised with their mouths set in an expressionless line. After what felt like an eternity, the two burst out laughing as if they could no longer keep a straight face. Felina was perplexed, but she groaned all the same. They were so alike.

"Well, we could explain it to you," Razor started, getting her breath long enough to speak.

"But, then we'd have to kill you." T-Bone finished, her cocky grin returning, leaning with her elbow resting on Razor's shoulder. Razor shrugged as Feral gave them another incredulous look.

"It's vigilante thing. You wouldn't understand." Inside, both the kats were rolling with laughter. For once, Feral was the confused one, getting humiliated in front of all their friends. They were enjoying it, and Feral could see that. Deja vu cliked in his mind, and with it came the realization. He knew who these two were. It had been right there in front of his nose, and he couldn't believe he hadn't seen it before. However, he couldn't just accuse without some kind of proof. All he really had was a theory. If he had some real show of familiarity from them, he could at least scare them into telling the truth. All he needed was proof. What he got just wasn't what he wanted.

From the direction of the tunnel, he heard the frantic shouts of kats as they emerged back into the light and to home. The two suddenly forgotten, he walked past them and their jet, to greet the returning refugees. They'd made it home. Safe. All five of them. He frowned. There should have been six. When he looked closer, he saw three were carrying a wrapped bundle between them, the weight of it making their steps awkward. He also noticed the large bloodstain spreading across the light-colored fabric.

"Commander Feral!" He heard the voice of Julian Vix, one of the best soldiers he had. He heard the urgency in his voice and ran towards him, unaware that he was been watched by two sets of eyes. When he reached Julian, the tom was out of breath, panting and trying to get a word out. Feral had to strain to listen. "C...Cl....Clawson..." As soon as the word left his mouth, Julian began coughing, his breath coming in short, rapid gasps. He'd ran for his life, and he couldn't remember not being scared. Feral looked to the three laying the bloody bundle on the ground. By now, the two 'imposters' had caught up to him, had heard the name 'Clawson', and watched with a mounting horror as the bundle was set down. Blood stained the outfits and fur of the other three kats, all wide-eyed with shock and grief. The two looked at each other.

"T-Bone...T-Bone, it can't be..." Razor urged in a hushed whisper, her fear glowing in amber eyes. T-Bone didn't answer, jade eyes fixed on the bloody lump of cloth. Feral hadn't replied to Julian's answer. He was kneeling beside the bundle, one paw hovering over the top. Breathing deep and preparing for worse, Feral gently grabbed the hem and slowly pulled it away. The sight that greeted him was horrific. Above him, Razor's breath hitched in her throat, and T-Bone felt her heart freeze over and drop into the pit of her stomach, chilling her all over.

At first, the kat was barely recognizable, blood staining silver-white fur a horrid crimson. Bullets had riddled her body, blood pouring from the awful wounds, the little round holes that penetrated her body. The worst two and probably the ones that killed her was one in her head and the one in her heart. It was gruesome sight. One of the kats that had followed them over turned away to retch. Others simply paled and walked away. They were all used to death. It came every day, taking someone's life and spiriting them away. While it didn't sound pleasant, it was far better than living in this world. Some kats had even committed suicide just avoid this world. Death was no stranger to these kats.

Razor felt the tears stinging in her eyes, her already fragile heart breaking at the sight. Her chest was heaving heavily as she fought to control her breathing. The kat at their feet was familiar, and Razor was beginning to accept the reality as painful as it was. She'd learned that when her father had died. Keeping composure in front of these kats, however, was not going to be an easy task. She looked to T-Bone for comfort and was forced to hold back a gasp. T-Bone's eyes had widened to twice their size, her mouth hung open in a silent scream. That wasn't what shocked Razor. It was T-Bone's paws. Her fist were shaking with surpressed rage and grief. Blood stained her fingers as her claws dug deeper into the palms. Razor wished she knew what T-Bone was thinking, but she dared not to ask.

T-Bone stared at the lifeless kat, her heart having returned to take residence in her throat. She wanted to scream and rant that it wasn't fair, that Bast was just a cruel bitch and no one mattered. She wanted to run away and never look back if only to keep the gruesome display out of her mind. She wanted to deny the sight before her, and tell Feral that he was a sick bastard for trying to pull a joke like this. The name patch on the forest green vest was the only thing that convinced her otherwise. Covered in blood, the black embroided letters were still readable: M. Clawson. It was their mother, gunned down and dead at their feet.

In a moment, she no longer felt like T-Bone. Instead, she felt more like the Jacquelyn Clawson of fourteen years ago, like the five year old kit who had just learned their father was never coming back. What she wanted the most right then was to do what she did then: cry. Cry until she was numb. All of the kats that had been gathered around had left, going off to perform whatever duties they were supposed to at this time of day. Burial was meant for Feral and Felina to do. It was only the four of them now, and T-Bone didn't care anymore if Feral knew or not. Guilt was gnawing at her, picking at her soul. She could no longer keep it to herself.

"I...It's my fault." Barely above a whisper, but three faces turned towards hers, Razor's full of concern. She knew what T-Bone meant, and she wasn't going to let her think like that. Forgetting the two Ferals, she put a paw on her sister's shoulder.

"No, it's not. You didn't know. How could you have known?" T-Bone shook her head, not really wanting to hear what Razor was telling her.

"There was something telling to me land, to ignore all the danger and try to pick up the kats," Tears began to streak through her fur. Felina had turned sympathetic eyes on them. Feral kept his expression indifferent, though he knew he would have nightmares. She didn't notice any of them, the tears coming freely, and she didn't bother to control them. She didn't care. "I was the one who said 'no'. Mom's dead because of me." Her legs gave out on her, collapsing beneath her as she fell to her knees. Razor knelt beside, one arm draped across T-Bone's back while the other still held her shoulder. She knew she wouldn't be able to comfort the distraught she-kat. Her mind was already set, and nothing would change it. Razor didn't approve of that: misplaced guilt was only going to turn T-Bone into a hollow shell of herself.

Feral watched them both as his earlier thoughts of exposing the two came back to him. He had wanted proof of their identities, but now that he had it, it wasn't worth it. They were, in every sense of the word, orphans. Still, there questions that were bugging him, and he would ask them later. Still showing no emotion, he watched as they finally stood, Evelyn supporting Jacquelyn as she wiped the tears from her eyes. He knew who they were even though they had been assumed dead. There was no sense in referring to them as 'Razor' and 'T-Bone', though he understood why they choose the names.

The two turned around, without saying a word to either of the kats, and started to walk back to the jet. Feral stopped them before they could get very far, "Why couldn't you just tell me, Jacquelyn?" Felina turned to stare at her uncle, mouth hanging open. He'd never used that tone with them before. Not the usual authorative nor a soft tone, but an understanding that made him somewhat sympathetic and curious. It had it's effect, though. The she-kats turned sharply, Jacquelyn glaring daggers through her mask at Feral. Evelyn muzzle was scrunched into a grimance.

"Even you should you know that, Feral," Jacquelyn spat out, her voice as venemous as the day they were nearly exiled. Her ears were flat against her helmet, fire burning in the green irises, "I don't care how safe you think you're precious camp is. There'll always be the chance that some kat is a traitor. By now, the Metallikats know the SWAT Kats have returned, and they'll be looking for anything and everything they can use to bring us down. But before that, they'll try to use us to show them where the strays are hiding. Any traitor who knows who we are would give us all away as long as he was promised the life of a Metallikat pet." Jacquelyn paused, her jade eyes staring hard into Feral's. The older kat didn't move, scowling at Jacquelyn who continued after a few moments, "Any traitor would also know that he wouldn't dare go to the Metallikats with such information without the names of the SWAT Kats and the location of their hideout."

"And let me guess. You're not gonna share that with me, either, T-Bone?"

"No." T-Bone and Razor turned their backs on them, heading back for their jet. Feral sighed and called after them, "We'll bury her next to your father." They stopped, each looking back over their shoulders at him. He gave them a small smile and curt nod. T-Bone cast her eyes back towards the ground and nodded, muttering 'thanks'. Razor smiled back before following her sister. T-Bone had already jumped up into the pilot's seat and was waiting for Razor. She quickly joined her, and the canopy slid shut. T-Bone took a deep breath before she allowed herself to speak. "They're all dead, Eve." Razor's ears quickly perked up at her sister's words, amber eyes shining with grief. "We're all we've got now. The only ones who can protect everyone they cared about." She looked at Razor and gave her best smile, fangs gleaming even as tears filled her eyes again, "So let's try our best, okay?" Razor smiled, allowing herself to cry for the first time since they landed. Unable to reply, she only nodded. She was afraid that if she let herself speak, she would only break down crying. T-Bone gave her another nod and turned back to her controls. Within minutes, they were in the air again, heading for home.

They can't tell me who to be
'Cause I'm not what they see
Yeah, the world is still sleeping while I keep on dreaming for me
And their words are just whispers
And lies that I'll never believe

~Caramel ears ticked as the clock chimed eleven. Jacquelyn heard it, distantly, and yawned when she realized how late it was. Their whole history revealed in three hours. Nearly. She'd left out some things, things she didn't think Chance and Jake needed to know. One was their deal with the Pastmaster. They knew that the two sisters had planned to use the watch. What they didn't know they'd struck a deal with one of the worst enemies they'd ever had. Jacquelyn had to supress a shudder at thought of what they would do if they found out. She didn't want to think about it.

Another thing she KNEW they didn't need to know was what her and Evelyn had become after their mother's death. They'd tried to be as civil as possible to the kats, but when it came to the mechs, it was whole other story. At first, they simply shot them down, and used them for scrap metal, pieces retro-fitted to their equipment. Then, their methods changed. Well, her own, anyway. Once the intial grief had passed, she was left with only an extreme rage towards the mechs.

While Evelyn hauled away what parts she could, Jacquelyn had turned to much darker tactics. She hunted them down, anger burning in emerald eyes, and once she had them cornered, the torture began. Jacquelyn closed her eyes, scenes jumping out at her. The screeching of metal as it was forcefully ripped away, the crackle of circuitry, marred and dented mechs begging for their 'lives'. She never finished them off. She left just enough life in them to take a message to their masters and then left them to found by one of their comrades. Such actions had made into a hollow shell of her former self. Again, Jacquelyn had to surpress a shudder. They definitely didn't need to know that. It would give them nightmares.

Jake yawned, stretching his arms above his head to rid them of sleep. Chance stood from his chair, popping the kinks out of his back. Everything they'd heard was enough to convince them that Metallikats needed to be destroyed. A future like that was not worth looking forward to. Jake hadn't said anything after asking about their mother. Jacquelyn barely managed to tell them what had happened, her voice breaking on every other word while trying keep the tears from escaping. A part of him felt guilty for making her relive that moment in her life, and another part simply wanted to cry with her. It was terrible enough to know they were struggling to survive without his future self; hearing that his mate was to be gunned down. Well, it wasn't a comforting thought.

Jacquelyn herself finally stood, not bothering to stretch or pop the kinks out of her back. Retelling their past had exhausted her, physically and mentally, and her broken ribs still hurt, even after being reset and bandaged by Jake. Not letting them see that this bothered her, she gave them a slight smile and a wave of her paw.

"Night, guys. Um...Thanks. For listening."

"No problem, Jackie." Chance had quickly fallen into the habit of addressing her by her nickname. She didn't seem to mind. Jacquelyn looked to Jake. The slim kat nodded at her, trying not to let his own mixed emotions show.

"You're welcome. Good night." She smiled, nodded one last time to both of them, and headed up the stairs. She wouldn't admit it, but it had actually been quite relieving to share her past with them. They at least knew now just how bad things had gotten, and if she was right, they would help them fix everything. She frowned, remembering the Pastmaster's words. They had one month to find the Metallikats and destroy them. With any luck, they'd finish that task before then and return home to world where the swamps, the robots, and the deaths never even existed.

Another weight on her heart. If they destroyed Mac and Molly, everyone would forget that they'd ever ruled Megakat City. Their slates would get wiped clean, and they'd live their lives like nothing had ever happened. But she and Evelyn would always know. They were the ones changing the future. They didn't get to start over. They would always know there was once a darker life where the snakes and bugs in the swamp were more home than the towering metal buildings. They'd live and die as broken kats, thanks to their experiences, but they'd be happy just to have their parents back. For a moment, Jacquelyn allowed herself to smile. That's what all of this effort was really about. If they could just bring back their parents, it would all be worth it. Jacquelyn smirked. 'Better watch your tails, Metallikats.'

And I want a moment to be real
Wanna touch things I don't feel
Wanna hold on and feel I belong
And how can they say I'll never change?
They're the ones that stay the same
I'm the one now
'Cause I'm still here
I'm the one
'Cause I'm still here
I'm still here
I'm still here
I'm still here


Whoa! Long chapter, but I'm overall pleased with it. If I missed any grammatical errors, please tell me because it's very likely that I missed some after reviewing it for the fortieth time. I'll try to make the next update closer. R&R please!!! =^^=