A BROTHER'S LOVE
Author's Note: Just a little short story. I thought I'd write something about Feral's brother. He's only mentioned briefly on the show and I thought it would be nice to have a little more on him, a sidebar if you will. I hope you like it. Reviews would be appreciated.
He put down the paper with a sigh and finished his coffee. His wife held the pot out and questioned with her eyes, he shook his head. He needed to be getting off to work. He was first violinist in the Megakat Performing Orchestra at the opera house.
Finishing his cup, he carried it to the sink and kissed his wife goodbye. He walked through the living space and out the front door to his car. As he backed out of his drive and began his commute to the opera house, his mind went back to the headline he'd read.
It was like so many others, the thought of the danger his brother lived every day sent a chill down his back. He tried not to read the paper or watch the news because it always tended to upset him. He couldn't live in a constant state of fear for his brother's safety.
He had dearly wished Ulysses had been more interested in making music. He was soo talented on the piano that his music teachers thought sure he would be a great concert pianist when he was older. But then he shocked everyone by joining the enforcer academy. Everyone was upset by his decision but he was a stubborn tom and nothing swayed him.
So now he was the Chief Enforcer of this city and put his life on the line on a regular basis causing his family constant concern. Increasing his sorrow was when his beloved daughter, Felina, followed in her uncle's footsteps. The terror they felt was now doubled but as time passed into years, they had learned to temper their fear with pride and tried to quell the anxiety by just living and praying their loved ones survived each day.
He arrived at the opera house without incident, thankfully. Just two months ago, an attack by the Pastmaster had him hiding under his car for over an hour until the attack was over. Dirty and scared he joined the others of the orchestra that had also been caught outside when the attack occurred. They went inside where the conductor and manager of the troop would help clean them up, give them something hot and soothing to drink and comfort if they needed it. Each thanking god for surviving.
There were times when he had thought to move to a safer city but he couldn't bear to be that far away from his daughter, his brother, and extended family. So he grit his teeth, said a prayer, and went on as normal or as normal as one could in a city under near constant siege.
So far his brother had led a charmed life but that changed abruptly only a month later. A joint attack on the city by Turmoil and Dark Kat had been horrific. He had been fortunate to have had a bad cold that day and was home. So many others weren't so lucky. He learned much later that at least three of his orchestra colleagues had been killed.
The worst that had happened though was to his brother and daughter. The battle had laid waste to nearly a quarter of the city. The SWAT Kats had finally succeeded in stopping Turmoil and actually killing Dark Kat. Their jet had been totally destroyed yet again and they were injured but not severely.
With his grossly underfunded and outdated equipment, Ulysses and his troops battled bravely to prevent Dark Kat from reaching the Megakat Nuclear Power Plant. They succeeded in holding the omega off long enough for the SWAT Kats to take him out.
Ulysses had not been able to get out of the way when Dark Kat had tried a last attempt to win. His brother had been seriously injured when his tank that he had leaped from, had exploded too near him. He suffered multiple broken bones and massive bleeding. He survived but was in critical condition.
His daughter, Felina had been in the air battling Turmoil. With the fighters under her command she had charged into the fray. Though vastly outnumbered, she managed to take out more than half of Turmoil's fleet. The SWAT Kats had succeeded in crippling her airship but Turmoil had managed to get one last shot in which succeeded in knocking Felina's jet from the sky.
She ejected but her parachute became fouled when parts of her jet tangled in her lines. She came through the huge windows of the aircraft display of the Megakat Natural History Museum...fast and hard. Her fall was only partially broken by a hanging biplane that caught the rags of her parachute.
It took more than half an hour to get her down. She had a broken leg and multiple glass cuts from going through the window that nearly bled her to death. The floor beneath her was covered in blood. It had been a father's nightmare seeing that on the TV news.
His brother and his daughter shared one trait...they absolutely hated being in the hospital and being helpless. They were both usually back on their feet quickly, casts, crutches, whatever, nothing would deter them from returning to duty.
This time there would be no quick recovery. Ulysses' injuries were too severe and would take him far longer to recover than he was used to. The blast had burned his back nearly bare, his right leg and left arm were in casts, and he had three broken ribs. Felina suffered a deep laceration on her inner thigh that would take a while to heal and her left leg was in a cast.
It was a sickening sight for a loved one to see. His wife and he went to visit a day after they had been operated on. Felina looked awful, with both her arms bandaged. She'd used them to protect her face. Her wrapped leg was suspended from the ceiling waiting for the swelling to go down before being casted. Her other leg was heavily bandaged from her hip to her knee. She was groggy and really didn't know her parents were there. She had at least two IVs running and a monitor checking her vital signs.
He left his wife to stay by their daughter's side as he moved to the other side of the room to see his brother.
Ulysses was being kept sedated. The burns were second degree but because of his ribs he was forced to lie on his burned back. A cool gel pack was place under him to ease his burns and to try to lower his body temperature. Like Felina, he had one leg suspended in the air and one arm. His chest was wrapped to ease the broken ribs but it also covered the burns. His care would be complicated, long, and painful. He was presently running a fever causing his doctors some concern. Multiple lines were running into his body and all kinds of equipment surrounded his bed.
Tyrone reached a paw out and gently caressed his brother's exhausted and pale face. It truly frightened him to see his big strong younger brother laying there like this.
For the next couple of weeks, his wife, Gina, and he came to visit their daughter and his brother. Felina was casted a few days after surgery so her leg was now laying on the bed. She was running a small temp but the doctors weren't too concerned. She was more worried about her uncle to be concerned about herself.
Ulysses remained sedated for nearly a week. The fever persisted and he really didn't look good. His leg and arm weren't casted until a week later. His ribs had healed enough that the bandages could be removed and that was a nightmare in itself. They had stuck to the burned skin and had to be peeled off. It was fortunate, Uly was unconscious because he would have been screaming in pain. He now lay on his stomach so his burns could heal and be better treated.
By the end of the second week, Felina could finally go home but not to duty which annoyed her no end. Instead of being allowed to go to her apartment, she had to go where she could receive care. Her mother insisted she come home and would brook no argument.
Fuming, Felina was forced to go to her childhood home and be cared for. While his wife took care of their less than happy daughter, Tyrone continued to visit his brother.
Ulysses was conscious now but it wasn't a kindness. Tyrone wasn't happy to see constant tension in his brother's face from the pain because he was too stubborn to use the pain meds.
"Ulysses you are being stupid." He finally snapped at him. "The more pain meds you use the sooner you will heal. Toughening it out only makes your body work harder and take longer to heal. You must like being here to do that." He huffed in disgusted annoyance.
"What makes you such an expert." His brother growled irritably.
"I read and I ask." Tyrone said.
"Fine, I'll use it. You happy now?" Uly sighed in resignation as he reached for the switch to allow pain meds to flow into his IV.
"Ecstatic!" Tyrone said sarcastically. He softened his stance a moment later as he broached a subject he knew his brother would hate. "Look, your doctor says you'll be laid up here for another week then you'll need rehab for a couple of more weeks after that. I've already checked and there's a rehab center only a mile from my house. You stay with us and Gina will take you there every day for your treatment." He said reasonably.
"Crap! I don't want you to do that!" Uly said angrily. "I'll just stay here then go to Enforcer Headquarters and live in my temp quarters there. They have a rehab center in the medical section."
Tyrone shook his head. "No go. The doctors are adamant that you are not to be anywhere near work because you will not rest and that will impede your recovery." He said firmly.
"You'll hate me in very little time, big brother. You know how much I hate confinement." Uly warned.
"Yes, I most certainly do but we're family and I can put up with nearly anything from you." Tyrone said with a lopsided grin.
"You are going to regret this." Ulysses sighed too tired to argue any longer.
"Probably. Won't stop me though. Get some rest, Uly and use the pain meds." He admonished his brother before saying good bye for the day.
Felina was ambulatory, getting around on her crutches like a pro by the time her uncle was finally released from the hospital.
Feral still objected to going to his brother's home but he was soundly overruled. Since he moved very slowly and stiffly, he really couldn't refuse as they carefully loaded him into his brother's car and they made the half hour drive in silence.
Tyrone could feel his brother fuming and see how much pain he was in despite the medications. It was going to be a long recovery with an evil tempered tom. He hoped Gina and he could cope with Ulysses but he wouldn't think of sending him elsewhere. He was family and family took care of their own.
Felina was staying in her old room and Ulysses had been placed in the guest room. It was the first time since Felina had left home that their house was full.
Despite being in significant pain, Ulysses insisted on getting himself out of the car and up the short flight of steps leading to the front door. His brother didn't fight him about it, simply carried Uly's suitcase and led the way to the guest room. He set the case on a small table then opened the bed.
"I don't need to lie down!" Ulysses grumbled.
Tyrone stared his brother in the eye. "Stop trying to be so macho. I know how strong you are and how well you hide your emotions and pain but there's no one to impress here. Let go and you'll heal and be back to work that much quicker." He said firmly.
"I don't remember you being so pushy before." Uly grunted in annoyance as he sat on the bed.
"I have nothing to prove and I only want you well again." Tyrone said plainly. He reached out and lifted his brother's chin so that their eye's met. "Uly, I don't think you truly realize how awful it was for Gina and I to see you when you first came out of surgery. It was frightening. I've tried to keep my anxiety at bay by enjoying my job and never listening, reading, or watching the news. It makes life for us so much easier than knowing intimately how dangerous the job is for you and Felina. What we feared most has finally happened. Please...let us do something besides waiting on the sidelines, praying neither of you winds up dead." He said gently, caressing his brother's cheek with his thumb before letting him go.
Ulysses sat in stunned silence after that heartfelt confession. He really didn't know how to respond. He felt bad that he'd never considered how his family would feel about the danger he and Felina were confronted with on a regular basis. It was just a job like any other except for being a bit more hazardous.
"I'm sorry, Tyrone...I never wanted you to worry so much. My job may be dangerous but I do take as much care as I'm able to protect myself from serious harm. It's the best I can do since I can never promise not to be on the front lines with my enforcers." He finally said softly.
"Don't Ulysses! I didn't tell you that to make you feel guilty. I only wanted you to understand that doing this for you is the only way we can show our appreciation for how much you two do to protect the rest of us. We just try not to obsess on just how dangerous it is. Now...I want you to rest. You may not realize it yet, but all the effort you made to get from the hospital to here is going to slap you hard very soon. The doctor said you can have another pain pill when you were settled and by the looks of your face, that is probably a very good idea." Tyrone said firmly as he helped get Uly's slip-on shoes off then carefully helped him undress.
Feral couldn't help but hiss and moan as his clothes were removed. He hated to admit it but Tyrone was right. The pain was like a bludgeon now and all he wanted to do was curl up and die. His brother gently tucked Uly in, plumping his pillows so that he could partially sit up and ease his back a bit and added a pillow under his broken leg and arm.
"There. Now I'll get you some water and your pills so that you can rest until dinner time." He said as he found the meds in his brother's kit bag and went to the kitchen to get the small pitcher of water they had been chilling in the fridge just for Uly and a plastic cup. He hurried back to the room and saw Uly's eyes were closed, his face was tight and his paw on his uncasted arm was clenched in the bedding.
"Here Uly, take this and the pain will be eased." He said helping Uly take his meds. He wished there was more he could do as he watched Uly try to relax. "Do you want an ice pack for your back?" He asked solicitously.
"Yes, thank you!" Uly said with a pained moan as he shifted and accidentally scraped his back.
Tyrone went back to the kitchen and retrieved the cold quilted ice pack the hospital had given them and returned to the guest room. Carefully he slipped it behind Uly's back. He smiled wanly at his brother's sigh of relief...such a little thing but he was glad it helped with the pain. He patted him tenderly on the shoulder then left to allow Uly to get some rest.
His brother grumbled and chaffed at how helpless he truly was. Two days after he had been installed in Tyrone's home, he began physical therapy. Just getting dressed, walking out of the house and into the car, took more effort than he thought it should. Then the physical therapy would drain what strength he had left.
Though their species healed faster than any other, this much damage did take time to heal. Ulysses would literally collapse on the bed each day when he returned home from P.T. Gina would help him undress and give him a pain pill to ease him.
During this whole process, Felina would try to keep up with what was going on at Enforcer Headquarters then pass the information onto her uncle to keep his mind occupied and away from the intense pain he was suffering.
She was nearly ready to be returned to duty. Her casts had been removed and she was receiving physical therapy as well. It hurt to see her uncle struggle to do the simplest exercises, his face tight with pain and determination.
His casts were finally removed and Felina had returned to work. Feral could move a little better and because of that he was becoming impatient and rude. Gina finally had to call him on his behavior one day as he snapped at her when she helped him lay down after a particularly intense session at rehab.
"Stop fussing, Gina!" He snapped.
"Ulysses Feral! Kindly do not take that tone of voice with me!" Gina said firmly. "I know you're getting antsy to go back to work but being nasty to those that are helping you do that very thing will not get you there any faster."
Feral's ears flattened and he blushed at being chastised. "I'm sorry Gina. You're right. I'm just so tired of being helpless." He said unhappily.
Gina sat by his side on the bed and gave him a hug. "I know Uly. That's why Ty and I can cut you some slack for your snarly behavior but not when you overstep. Got it!" She said gently, pulling back to look into his face.
"Yes ma'am." He said, embarrassed.
"Good! Then are you up for some lunch?" She said warmly, getting up to leave.
"Uhm, no thank you. I think I'll take a pill and a nap." He said softly.
"Okay, see you at dinner then." She said quietly and left him alone.
It was with distinct relief that Feral finally was well enough to go back to limited duty. He would have to be confined to the office for another two weeks and finish his physical therapy but he was able to go home and that cheered him up significantly.
His look of relief when he returned from his doctor's office that afternoon, made Gina grin. She shook her head at her difficult brother-in-law. She loved him but he was truly worse than a three year old with a toothache.
That night at dinner, he announced he was returning home. Felina would be picking him up the next morning.
"Tired of our hospitality, brother." Tyrone teased.
Ulysses blushed. "I'm really grateful to you both for your good care of me." He said humbly.
"You're very welcome Uly. We're just glad to see you healed." Gina said with a warm smile.
Feral smiled back shyly.
The next morning early, Felina arrived to pick her uncle up. She gave her parents a warm hug then took her uncle's suitcase and kit bag and put it in the car. Ulysses gave his brother and sister-in-law warm hugs.
"Thank you again for taking care of us, despite our complaints and bad manners." Uly said with a lopsided grin.
"Just try to avoid getting hurt so badly again, my brother, and I'll count that payment enough." Tyrone said.
"You know I'll do my best." Uly said then got into the car and waved as Felina drove them away.
Gina sighed, "Tye?"
"You know I love your brother dearly but I have to say, I really don't want to see him again soon." She said wearily.
Tyrone chuckled, "I guess I can certainly agree with you there my love. He is a handful."
His wife just snorted.