TRIALS OF MOTHERHOOD, V

"You want to do what?" Feral asked his tiger mate, not sure he had heard Shere say something so outlandish.

Eyeing Ulysses carefully, Shere said, "I wish to present our kittens to my clan. They have been demanding I do so for some time but due to your health and their size I was able to put them off but no longer."

Feral grimaced in resignation. "Well, I guess we better do it then. You did willingly move here for me so I guess I should bite the bullet accept the fact you have a right to see your family too." He sighed.

"Thank you, my love. I appreciate the sacrifice you are willing to make. I know it isn't easy for you to leave your job but Felina is more than capable of holding the fort, as it were, in your absence." Shere said warmly, hugging his mate.

"Yes, you're right. Well let's get this show on the road. I assume you have already made the arrangements?" He asked with a sigh as he prepared for bed.

"Since I own the jet, my love, I can leave anytime I wish. I needed to ask you if you're able to make the break sometime this week?" Shere said, cocking an eye at Ulysses questioningly.

"Hmm, well I'll have to recheck my schedule, but I think that's doable." Feral said consideringly.

"Excellent! Then I will wait for your call and set things in motion." Shere smiled then leaned close to kiss the dark tom which led to other things.

In his office the next morning, Feral went over his schedule with Felina.

"It looks good, Uncle. You could really use this break with Khan and there's nothing that can't wait for a little while or that I can't take care of for you." Felina said warmly.

"Yeah, I guess, Shere did pick a good time for this and he has been patient. I didn't know he was receiving so much pressure to visit his clan and I've been churlish not to realize I've been unfair to him about visiting Cape Suzette. But darn it, Felina, it's just not easy to haul three six month old kittens anywhere. It takes major planning." Feral groused mildly.

Felina scrunched her face in commiseration. She had been drafted a couple of times when it came to taking the triplets anywhere. It was sometimes a nightmare.

"Yeah, don't I know it, but, Uncle, that's where being mated to the wealthiest Kat in the world comes in handy...lots of servants." She smirked.

"There's that." Feral snorted good-naturedly.

Two days later, the triplets, their parents and a fair army of servants were loaded aboard Khan's private jet. The flight would take over three hours. Feral used the time to do some reports as Khan was looking over some prospectus'. On the floor, with their nanny herding them, the triplets were crawling around and playing on the thickly carpeted floor.

Casimir crawled to his mother's knee and pulled himself up his leg. Feral felt the sharp needle claws and looked down past his paperwork.

"And where do you think you're going?" He asked smiling tenderly at his largest triplet.

Casimir grinned and mewed then lost his grip and fell backward to the floor. He gargled happily and rolled over to his knees again and made for his father to do the same thing.

Feral just shook his head. He still found it hard to believe that he was a mother. It was a true life altering event in his life next to being bonded to Shere.

The triplets were napping when the jet began its descent by late afternoon. The landing didn't wake them as they were covered with blankets and off loaded to the waiting limo. They were soon all loaded and on their way to the Khan Tower.

On their arrival at the Tower they were met by Khan's director for Shere's operation in Cape Suzette, Mr. Sheridan.

"Welcome sir and Commander Feral. I trust your flight was comfortable?" He asked politely.

"Smooth flight overall, Mr. Sheridan. My compliments to the crew. The triplets are still asleep, so let's get them upstairs, shall we?" Shere said as he accepted one of the car seats from the servants unloading the limo.

Feral took another carseat and Sheridan took the last. He stared down at the sleeping female he was holding and smiled warmly.

"She is beautiful sir. You are very fortunate to have such exquisite kittens." He complimented.

"Thank you. I think so too." Shere said with pride, looking down to study the sleeping face of Casimir.

Very quickly they boarded the elevator and were soon on the top floor of the Tower and were carrying the triplets through to their room . With practiced efficiency, Khan and Feral unloaded their triplets, checked diapers, then placed them in a very large crib. The triplets loved to sleep together and wouldn't accept being separated.

With their kittens taken care of, the parents were free to have lunch and Feral listened as Sheridan brought his boss up to date with the affairs of his Cape Suzette end of his empire.

When he was done, Sheridan bid them a good evening and told Khan he would see him in the morning. The rest of the day was spent getting settled in.

The next morning, while Khan was in his old office one floor down, Feral was glad he had a new laptop to allow him to keep up with his work in Megakat City. He and Felina would talk about the days needs and he would advise her on what needed to be done. He'd never taken a vacation before so this felt a bit weird for him.

To the kittens this was a new adventure. They spent the day exploring the confines of the penthouse. The most fun was looking through the glass to see the amazing fall of water from the immense waterfall. Gaspar and Kiara were totally mesmerized by it but Casimir was restless and wanted to see more. The nannies rode herd on them, keeping them from any major trouble while still allowing them to explore and exercise but Casimir managed to go on an adventure on his own and create complete chaos that affected the whole building.

Khan had invited the 'Higher for Hire' crew over for lunch to meet the kittens because they had helped save their mother and ensured they would survive to be born. He felt they had a right to see what they had risked their lives to save.

Down at the docks the day before...

"You're joking, Becca! Why would Shere Khan invite us to some fancy lunch?" Baloo asked in disbelief.

"Well, I was a little surprised myself but he said it was to thank us for saving Commander Feral. He said we should see what we had risked our lives for." Becky Cunningham said.

"Huh! Really! Well I'm not going to turn down a free feed. When is this shindig?" The big bear asked.

"Tomorrow at noon. I've already made sure our schedule is clear. And the invitation was for all of us, so that includes you too Wildcat and Kit. Molly is allowed to come too." Becky said with a grin.

"Great! Sounds like it'll be gas. Tomorrow then!" Baloo sang out as he headed for the door. "I'd better get that shipment taken care of today then, come along Kit."

"Right, later Ms. Cunningham." Kit said as he dashed after Baloo.

The next day, eleven-forty five...

"I don't know why we had to get duded up, Becca!" Baloo groused as he pulled at the tie he was wearing. He'd been forced to wear a green tailored shirt with tie and dark black slacks.

"This is high society, Baloo. One doesn't go to a fancy lunch in the Khan Tower looking like the garbage collectors." Becky said tartly, straightening her skirt a bit. She was dressed in a lovely lavender skirt with a lighter shade blouse.

"Maybe so Ms. Cunningham, but I feel ridiculous in this." Kit mumbled. He was dressed in a sharp looking polo shirt and slacks.

Next to him, Wildcat stared at all the interesting things in the elevator, totally at ease in a pair of brown slacks with a yellow polo shirt. He looked strange without his ever present cap.

Molly pouted in her rather frilly blue dress. She'd rather be in her coveralls.

In the Khan apartment, the nannies were getting the triplets dressed in simple jumpers. The kittens were excited, sensing something was up.

Feral had opted to dress in a comfortable pair of black slacks topped by a yellow polo shirt. Khan was dressed in his usual three piece suit.

Sheridan was double checking the arrangements for the buffet in the large dining room. Everyone was very busy. The kittens had been allowed to play in their room because they were too excited to be still and this would wear them out so they would be quieter at the luncheon.

With the constant in and out of people, an adventurous kitten saw an opportunity and took it. When the door to the nursery was left slightly ajar and the nannies were occupied, Casimir pulled at the door and slipped out.

His eyes were wide as he took in the new view from his floor level. Seeing many exciting things to explore, he crawled quickly down the hall. Making the living room without being seen, he crawled under tables and stared out at the fancy living space.

Unfortunately, there were too many feet moving around, so he went behind the couch and came out near a constantly opening door. A rolling cart came close to where he was hiding and halted a moment.

Casimir pulled up the sheet that hid the underside of the table and peered in. It was a silver colored and empty shelf. Curious he climbed in, before he could decide to get off, it began to move. Enchanted, Casimir peered through a gap in the sheet and watched people, walls, and things go by.

The cart halted again, he saw a wall slide open, then the cart moved onto it. A strange feeling passed through him as the cart went down in the elevator for the lobby.

The wall slid open again and the cart rolled through then halted again. It stayed still so Casimir crawled off it for the floor. This area was boring, so he crawled to and open area ahead of him. The cart had been left just outside the servants hall. The doorway the kitten was headed for lead to the lobby proper.

When he reached the polished floor, he sat up and stared at the high ceiling and all the cool things around him. As he looked around, he saw another moving wall. He crawled along the wall among the potted plants to avoid the adult feet as he made his way to the elevator doors.

He found one empty and decided to climb on. The doors closed silently and he rode up several floors.

Meanwhile, back in the penthouse, the nannies prepared to take the kittens to the dining room. It was then that Casimir was discovered missing. No one panicked at first until after a fruitless ten minutes the kitten couldn't be found.

The nannies contacted the guards, who quickly instituted a silent search of the penthouse. When that failed to find the missing kitten an alarm was set off.

"What's going on?" Feral demanded at the sound of the alarm. He had been working with Felina in the den.

"Casimir is missing, sir." A grim and tense faced Bagera, Khan's head bodyguard, reported.

"What?" Feral said in shocked anger.

"We've searched the entire penthouse. We've surmised the little one had most likely climbed aboard one of the serving carts and had been unknowingly transported off the floor. We've already checked and no one that shouldn't be here was found." He said tightly. "I've instituted a floor by floor search and the building is in lock down mode."

"My God! There are so many places he could come to harm in this building." Shere said in horror. "Notify all floor supervisors to search. I want all work stopped until my son is found." He ordered angrily.

At that same moment the members of 'Higher for Hire' arrived in the lobby, the building security had been alerted and all floors were scurrying like ants searching for the lost kitten.

"What the heck is going on?" Baloo said as he saw a group of security frantically searching at floor level around them.

Kit grabbed hold of one of the security fellows to inquire what had happened.

"Who are you?" He demanded quickly, looking them over suspiciously.

"We are here at the invitation of Mr. Khan to have lunch with him and his family. We're 'Higher for Hire'." Rebecca told him.

"Oh yes. I'm sorry ma'am. One of the Khan triplets has managed to escape the penthouse and is somewhere in the building. We're trying desperately to find the kitten before he comes to harm." The guard said anxiously, letting his eyes search the floor.

"Oh my! That's terrible. Can we help?" She asked anxiously. As a mother herself, she knew the terror she'd feel losing Molly.

"Of course, ma'am. Just keep your eyes open for him. I'm told he's an enterprising little thing and can only crawl being only six months old." He said already moving off to continue the search.

"Well, where do you think we should look Becca? This is a huge building." Baloo said, scratching his head in frustration as to where to start.

"I'd suggest we take the elevator and glance out each floor and see if we spot him. I suspect he was fascinated by it and might have used it to go up and down quite a few times. Molly did that in our building when she was younger." Becca suggested.

"Well I guess that's the best we can do!" Baloo shrugged.

"I think we should take an elevator a piece since there are so many of them." Kit said pointing at the wall of elevators.

"You're right! Molly come with me, honey." Becca said as she made for one car. Each of the group picked an elevator and began their search.

At each floor, each member stepped out and went a ways down each hall before getting back on and going to the next floor.

"Let me go that way, Mommy while you go that way." Molly said.

"Well...okay. Just don't leave Mommy's sight," Becca agreed reluctantly.

On each floor, Molly went down the hall a short way and looked into open doors and behind plants and carts while her Mom did the same in the other direction.

It was on the twentieth floor that Molly got lucky.

Casimir was getting tired. He had looked at lots of things and rode the elevator many times. But he was hungry and wanted his Mommy. He took refuge behind a wall of recently delivered bolts of cloth leaning against a wall near a laboratory for experiments on clothing.

Molly and Becca arrived on the twentieth floor and separated. Molly looked behind lots of stuff lining the hall. Sighing and getting hungry, Molly just glanced behind the bolts of cloth and nearly left when she heard a whimper. She stopped and looked closer. Laying on the floor was a small kitten.

She started to reach for it but stopped. Her mommy would know how to pick up a kitten. She turned and looked for her Mom. Becca was just coming down the hall.

"Momma, come quick," She shouted at Becca.

Becca's eyes widened. She hurried to her daughter's side.

"Behind there mommy." Molly pointed excitedly.

Becca quickly dropped to her knees and looked behind the rolls. There he was.

"Oh little one, its alright. Come here sweety. I won't hurt you!" She coaxed.

Casimir had seen the little kat face looking at him then disappear which caused him to whimper then a nice she-kat's face appeared and was calling to him. Crying in relief, he crawled out to her.

"Aw, it's alright. We'll get you to your mommy." Becca soothed as she held the kitten tightly to her body and made for the elevator with Molly close at her side.

"Molly, I'm very proud of you." Becca told her daughter warmly as she bounced the little kitten comfortingly.

Molly smiled happily glad she was the one to have found the missing kitten.

Becca had pushed the button for the penthouse. The doors soon opened to subdued chaos and a distraught Commander Feral who was pacing anxiously. Shere Khan was no better as he stalked around with a cell phone to his ear.

"Commander Feral, I believe my daughter has found someone for you." Becca called out as she approached the dark tom.

Feral's eyes widened as he hurried forward and took his son from the female bear's arms.

"Oh Casi, love. Mommy was so worried." He cooed. Casi wailed at the sight of his mother and dug his claws into his mother's shirt. Feral nuzzled him to assure himself his kitten was alright and offer comfort to his little one. Shere came close immediately and caressed his son's face in relief then he got on his phone and told his security to notify all floors that the kitten had been found.

Soon over the loud speakers the announcement went out. On the elevators Baloo, Wildcat and Kit gave a sigh of relief and all punched the button for the top floor.

They soon joined Becca and Molly. The little bear breathlessly told the rest how she had found Casimir.

"That was great, Molly. I'm proud of you!" Kit said giving her a hug.

"Please, if you will all follow me to the dining room. You have my thanks for finding little Casimir and the least we can do is feed you." Sheridan said in amused relief as he escorted them to the dining room.

As they entered the room, Commander Feral, still holding Casimir, along with Shere Khan approached them.

"Thank you so very much for finding my son, Ms. Cunningham." Feral said.

"Actually, its Molly who you have to thank. She's the one who found him." Becca said proudly holding her daughter before her.

Feral knelt down to Molly's level. "Thank you, Molly. I'm very grateful to you." He said solemnly shaking her little paw while still holding Casimir with the other.

"You're welcome." Molly said shyly.

Feral stood back up as Shere leaned down and shook Molly's paw. "I want to thank you too." He said warmly. Molly just smiled and blushed.

"I'm sure that long search has made everyone hungry so please grab a plate and enjoy." Shere said waving to the buffet.

"Don't mind if I do. I'm starving." Baloo said moving to the tables of food quickly. Kit and Wildkat hard on his heels.

Casimir tapped his paw impatiently against his mother's face. Feral looked down at him.

"Hungry are we? I hope that taught you not to wander off." He said as he placed his son in his high chair next to his siblings. The nannies brought food for the kittens and Casimir wasted no time in digging in.

Feral sighed and shook his head.

"They can really make you grey fast." Came an amused voice behind him. He turned and smiled at Becca.

"Most definitely. Especially Casimir. He's my most adventurous." Feral sighed.

"I don't envy you, Commander. I thought it was hard enough raising Molly but taking care of three at once would make me crazy." Becca said shaking her head.

"They do me at times and I'm certain I'll have lost my mind by the time they can walk." Feral shuddered at the thought.

Becca laughed in commiseration as she and Feral went to get something to eat.