COMFORTING ARMS

Author's Note: Couldn't resist writing this up. Took only an hour. It was something I'd thought of when I had planned the sequel and it got lost in the shuffle. Based on 'Feral Through the Looking Glass.' Hope you enjoy it.

"Geez, Jeri, where have you been?" Brian asked.

"It's almost as if you just dropped out of the scene entirely." His friend, Steve observed.

"Yeah, ever since you hooked up with the Commander, we've not seen hide nor hair of you." Jason chimed in.

Jericho flashed a smile of contentment at his concerned friends.

"I'm fine.......actually I'm more than fine. Oh guys, I've never been happier than I am right now. Ulysses is the best lover and friend I've ever had and I know for certain he's a keeper." He said serving his friends their drinks.

The late sun shone into his loft apartment. His friends had come over after not seeing their friend for more than a month. Now they sat around his comfortable living room, drinking hot tea and fresh baked goodies Jason had brought.

"That's what you said about that last has-been." Steve said drinking his tea and grabbing a brownie from the dish on the coffee table.

"Be fair, Stevie. He wasn't exactly this enthusiastic about what's his name." Brian admonished his friend.

"Still......" Jason started to comment.

"Hey! I know I was excited when I was with Darell but I know now that it was just infatuation. I guess I wanted someone so badly I was willing to accept second best. But Ulysses.......well he just makes me feel totally different. He's had a bad time recently, lost someone he cared about very much and was desperate to find someone new to connect with. He's not a 'bouncer'....going from one lover to another. His life is far too dangerous and he's just too busy to make time to date much." Jericho said earnestly, sitting on the edge of his seat as he tried to make his friends see just how important this new lover was to him.

"That's what's worrying us, Jeri. His job is dangerous and the fact he hasn't a lot of off time doesn't make him a very good or attentive lover no matter how great he is in bed." Brian said seriously.

"Normally, I'd be the first to agree with you but oddly enough, it doesn't bother me that he can't spend as much time as he wants with me. What does matter is when we are together, he is with me one hundred percent. All his attention is on me as if I was the most precious thing in his life. He needs me and that's something I've always wanted. I know you think I'm crazy but that's the best way I can explain how he makes me feel." Jericho said with a sigh of frustration on not being able to describe his relationship any better than that.

He could tell he hadn't been very successful by Brian's next comment.

He was shaking his head as he said sadly, "But his job puts your life in danger and how can you be satisfied with his occasional attention no matter how intense it is?"

Jericho sighed and was about to try again when he heard a hard knock on his door. Frowning, he excused himself and went down to the foyer, one level down from his living quarters.

He peered through the peephole, gasped and quickly yanked the door open, his arms reaching out to the exhausted and anguished tom swaying on his doorstep.

"I'm sorry, love to come here like this........it's just.......I'm.....Gods!....." Ulysses Feral spoke in broken fashion, seemingly unable to form a coherent sentence.

"Oh my love, it's alright. Let me help you. Come on let's go to the bedroom." Jericho said, worried about what must have happened to his lover today.....he looked awful.

Feral swayed and tried to pull back. "No.....too dirty.....blood on my clothes....." He said distractedly.

Not wanting to upset Uly any further, Jericho helped him up the stairs to the living area. He signaled his friends to move. Shocked at the sight of the disheveled Commander, Brian and Jason quickly jumped up from the couch and moved the coffee table so their friend could get to the couch easier with his unsteady burden.

Jericho lowered Ulysses to the couch and started to remove his burned and bloody coat. The dark tom's eyes were shut tight and his shoulders were sagging.

Suddenly, Feral grabbed Jericho and pulled him tightly against his chest then wrapped his arms around him in an obvious plea for comfort. He buried his face in the golden tom's shoulder, body shaking. Jericho realized with shock that his lover was crying. Wishing he knew what Uly had endured that had made him so anguished, Jericho could only return the desperate hug and comfort and soothe his lover until he was calm enough to talk to him.

His friends felt uncomfortable in the face of the proud tom's obvious grief. Making quick gestures of farewell they made a hasty and quiet exit allowing their friend to comfort his lover in private. Brian mouthed 'Call me later' before hastening through the door after his buddies.

Jericho was grateful for his friends understanding and leaving without a fuss. Sighing mentally, he rocked his lover tenderly in his arms and let the poor tom get his pain all out.

It took some time and the sun was down by the time Ulysses was able to pull away. He rubbed his temple and grimaced.

"Aw love, got a headache?" Jericho asked softly, still caressing the broad back.

Feral could only nod. He felt miserable, dirty, and sad but at least the pain was a little less now that he'd been able to cry it out.

Before his trip to Eureka, he would have just sighed in unhappiness but carried on and completed the required death reports but ever since that time, he felt the pain of loss far more acutely and couldn't just shrug it off.

Today had been hideous. An attack by Dark Kat had ended with the creep being captured by the SWAT Kats, two buildings were destroyed, and several enforcers killed including two of his best officers. As he'd finished the last report he could feel himself begin to fall apart. He'd managed to hold it together long enough to be with the only Kat that he could be himself around.

Jericho had left his side while he ruminated and was soon back before he'd realized the golden tom had left. He was handing him a glass and some tablets.

"Here love." He said gently.

Feral sighed and swallowed the proffered pills and drank all the water, gratefully. Jericho sat next to him again and put an arm around his waist. Feral lowered the glass and leaned his face against the golden tom's cheek and nuzzled him.

"Thank you, love." He murmured softly.

"You're welcome, my love. Do you feel better now?" Jericho asked.

"Yeah, a bit. I.....it was so hard.....I used to handle this much easier before the tumor was removed but now.......I'm so emotional. Sometimes I'm not so sure this is such a good thing for someone in my position but then I remember how cold my life was once and I realize I'd rather learn to deal with it than ever go back to the way I used to be. Of course, there's you and your unconditional love that helps me to survive it. You are the best thing in my life, Jericho." Ulysses said sincerely, keeping his face against his lover, their closeness a balm for his battered spirit.

This was what Jericho tried to make his friends see. Ulysses wasn't using him.......on the contrary.... he needed him. Jericho never had anyone who needed him and loved him so completely before the dark tom came into his life. Now he couldn't see his life without him.

"I'm glad I can be here for you, Uly. I love you and I'll always be here when you need me." Jericho said honestly.

"And I'll always be there for you, Jericho. How is your project coming along?" Ulysses asked, determined to turn away from his dismal day.

"Are you sure you don't want to talk about your day first and get rid of the rest of your distress?" Jericho asked in concern.

"Believe me, love, just your presence and the comforting you gave me was all I wanted when I walked in your door. There's nothing I can do for the enforcers I lost today in battle but grieve for them and you've allowed me to do that. Now I'd rather clean up and hear how your projects are going." Feral said quietly but firmly.

Jericho cocked his head at his lover and studied him for a long moment then he nodded. The dark tom had an air of resignation and sadness about him but it was not overwhelming as when he first walked in.

"Alright, then let's go upstairs and get you cleaned up." He said with a warm smile as he stood and reached down to pull his lover to his feet.

Feral smiled wanly back and let Jericho pull him up then made their way to the bedroom up another floor above them.

Less than an hour later, they were standing in Jericho's work area sharing sandwiches, soup and milk as the golden tom showed his lover his latest project. Jericho was an architect and very well known one in building circles.

His loft was three levels; the bedroom was at roof level with skylights, huge kingsize bed and beautiful furnishings, the main level held the living room, kitchen, and his work area, and the last level was a small foyer and storage area. It was a spectacularly designed space he'd done himself.

Feral loved it. It made him feel comfortable and at peace. He spent far more time here than his apartment these days. Now he relaxed and listened as his lover described the shopping complex he was designing. Jericho's face was animated with the joy he took in his work.

Feral felt a smile tug on his lips. No matter how bad a day he'd had, Jericho made it all go away by his sunny disposition and caring demeanor. Despite how truly terrible today had been he already knew he would make love to this incredible tom before morning. The golden tom's comforting arms would be wrapped around him and all would be right with the world. Tomorrow would take care of itself.