CAVE IN!

Author's Note: This came to me as I was waking this morning. Hope you like it.

He groaned to awareness in a pitch dark place filled with dust that clogged his sensitive nose. He sneezed and shook his head groggily.

'What the heck happened?' He wondered, his body ached from multiple bruises.

He couldn't see anything and it took him a few more moments to gather his wits and to remember to turn on his flash on his glovatrix. Instantly, light filled the area and horror struck him a second later as he realized he was in a tiny space. He was paralyzed for a moment.

'Buried alive!!!!' His mind screamed.

Surrounding him was nothing but dirt and rock and absolutely no way out. A hideous flashback sprang into his mind of a two year kitten buried in a sink hole in his backyard. His cries of terror not heard for some thirty long minutes before rescue pulled him free, dirty and crying. Nightmares haunted him for a very long time after that incident.

But he wasn't a kitten any longer and he was distracted from his fear by a deep pain-filled moan which shook him from his kittenhood trauma. Shaking his head sharply, he turned the light toward the sound.

Not more than ten feet from him was a huge rock fall and under one small part of it was Feral. He scrambled in a crab walk across the floor to the trapped Kat's side.

Feral's eyes were closed, his teeth clenched and he had one paw full of claws digging in the dirt past his head while the other was desperately trying to shove a huge boulder off his pinned legs.

Hissing in shocked dismay, T-Bone crawled close and tried to see if he could move the thing.

Sensing someone near him, Feral opened his eyes and saw blue. He blinked and realized it was the pant leg of someone.

T-Bone looked down and saw Feral was aware, his eyes were glassy with shock and intense pain.

"Easy, lie still! Your legs are pinned by a big rock and I'm going to try and move it."

Feral moaned again but managed to nod his understanding, closing his eyes once more.

Going back to his task, T-Bone saw he could roll the rock to one side but it was going to cause Feral even more pain. It couldn't be helped, this was the only way to get it off the Kat's legs.

"This is going to hurt a lot!" He warned the tom before he shoved with all his strength rolling the rock away.

A piercing scream filled his ears causing him to flatten them. It was too loud in this tiny space. Feral continued to scream in agony until he blessedly passed out.

T-Bone released the breath he wasn't aware he had been holding when the scream cutoff. It had set his nerves on edge and made him sick inside knowing he couldn't do anything for the poor tom.

Now that Feral was free, the tabby could see the damage. He winced in sympathy. Feral's legs were broken. One was obviously shattered in the upper thigh as bones were showing through and the other was bent at a wrong angle back beneath him.

Grimacing, the SWAT Kat set to doing what he could, really glad Feral wasn't aware since this was going to really hurt. Swiftly, he straightened both legs as best he could then he began to pull various things from his g-suit; water, first aid supplies, the delta pack off his back and detached his light from the glovatrix and set it where it would shine on his work area.

First he tore Feral's pants the rest of the way open to get to the wounds, then he cleansed them the best he could but saved some of the water to give to Feral, shock would have dangerously dehydrated him. Next, he wrapped clean bandages around the open thigh wound then the open fracture on his other leg.

He prayed Feral didn't waken because he had to dismantle his delta pack to use its parts as splints for the tom's legs and shifting them would be agonizing. Working quickly, he took apart the delta wing.

He lay the metal parts alongside each leg then, using his retracting knife in his glovetrix, tore the kite portion of the pack out to use as ties to hold the splint to the legs.

Sweat was running down his face as he finished tying the last of the makeshift splints on the last leg when Feral groggily woke up and meowed in pain.

"Yeah, I know you hurt. Hang on a second!" T-Bone murmured soothingly. He dug into his first aid kit for the precious pain injector Razor put in each of their packs. He pulled Feral's shirt up enough so that he could inject it then he grabbed his canteen and gently raised Feral's head enough to help him drink.

"Here, you need fluids. It's not much but it should help." He coaxed the injured Kat.

Feral blinked tears of agony from his eyes. He stared blearily up at T-Bone's face then registered what he wanted when the mouth of a canteen touched his lips. It was then he realized how thirsty he was. He gulped the cool liquid greedily and whined when it was taken away.

"I know, I'm sorry but that's all there is. Just try and stay still and I'll try and get us help." The burly tom soothed gently.

Feral could only nod, talking was too difficult. He couldn't remember when he'd been this badly hurt and the pain was intense. Sweat mixed with dirt and the scent of blood filled his nose. He felt like he was going to throw up but fiercely shoved the sensation down, giving into it would make his situation worse. To take his mind off his pain he watched T-Bone take his helmet off and begin fiddling with it.

The tom grumbled to himself about the radio being broken. For the next few minutes, the tabby worked on his helmet then with a grunt of satisfaction he put it back on his head and tapped it.

Instantly a voice was heard in mid word "....bone......are you there?" Came Razor's welcome voice.

"Razor! I'm here!" He shouted in relief.

"Oh god, T-Bone! Are you alright? Is anyone with you?" Razor asked anxiously.

Felina had halted her efforts to dig through the wall of rock that had fallen in the tunnel when it had collapsed during an attack by the Metallikats. The SWAT Kats had managed to take them out just before the ceiling of the tunnel collapsed all around them.

A few enforcers had been killed outright, others had been trapped. They had been digging for some time trying to find everyone. Razor had been right by her side as his partner had been one of the unlucky ones to be buried as well as her uncle.

She listened with no little fear at the conversation between Razor and his, now found, partner.

"Yeah, Feral is here but he's in real bad shape. Both his legs have open fractures. I've done what I can but he's in shock and needs to get out of here. My radio was broken and I had to fix it first to contact you. Can you get a fix on us?" T-Bone relayed.

"Just a sec, buddy!" Razor told him while he flicked his scanner on, located on his glovatrix. The smaller SWAT Kat bit his lip anxiously as he waited for a signal. He sighed in relief when a blip appeared. "Got you! You're about twenty feet to the right of us and some twelve feet under. We'll get you out as fast as we can, just hold on." Razor assured him.

Felina's shoulders slumped in relief to know her uncle was alive but concerned about his injuries. She quickly summoned her enforcers and the emergency crews to where the survivors were.

Frantic digging commenced as everyone worked fast to free the buried victims as quickly as they could.

Sighing in relief that help was on the way, T-Bone looked down at Feral. He took a clean handkerchief from another pocket of his g-suit and gently wiped the injured tom's face off.

Feral's face was pale and tight with pain. He moaned when a slight movement on his part sent bolts of fresh pain up his body. He panted frantically, wishing desperately he could get away from the intense agony.

Hoping it would help ease the tom, T-Bone took his oxygen mask and placed it over Feral's mouth and nose then turned the bottle on full.

A cool blast of pure air hit Feral's nose and mouth and he sucked it in. It seemed to help a little.

"Easy, Commander. I know you hurt a lot. Just try to breath a little slower and not pant. It will help with the pain some." T-Bone said softly.

Staying focused on the tom before him and not his tiny prison helped T-Bone hold off his own terrors about being buried alive.

Time seemed to crawl as the two waited in their tiny hole. Sweat continued to drip off T-Bone's face and Feral was looking paler and paler. It worried the tabby a lot.

"Hanging in there, Feral?" He asked, worriedly.

"Trying......" Came a barely audible response. Feral's eyes were closed and sweat mixed with tears ran down his face.

"I can hear them.......they are getting close.....you just hold on!" T-Bone urged the tom as his ears picked up the sweet sound of digging very close to them. "Razor, you're close.....I can hear you." He told his partner excitedly.

"That's good buddy. Are we going to hit you guys when we break through?" Razor asked in concern.

T-Bone listened closely for a moment before answering. "No, it sounds like you are just in front of us. That's only about ten feet from where we're sitting."

"Good!" Razor answered then turned to those around him. "T-Bone says were almost there and that we're just ten feet in front of them so put your backs into it."

Everyone picked up speed with their digging, knowing they were almost to the buried Kats. Some ten minutes later, they broke through.

T-Bone gave a shout of relief when he saw light and felt the fresher air against his face. It took the rescuers several more minutes to open the hole wide enough for them to extricate the pair.

Feral was hooked up to an IV and given heavy pain meds before he was pulled from the hole. He looked awful and it scared Felina to see him like this. She went in the ambulance that raced them to the hospital.

It was days later, when Ms. Briggs called them.

Jake was near the phone working on a small car's ignition. When it rang, he walked over and answered it. "Yes, Ms. Briggs."

"Razor, hi. No emergency, just a request. Commander Feral would like to see you guys. He's recuperating nicely from the surgery done on his broken legs. He's in room four oh nine, fourth floor west." Callie relayed.

"He wants to see us? Why?" Jake asked in surprise. Chance was listening as well and frowned.

"I guess he wants to thank you. Felina promises it's nothing bad and no one will hassle you if you go." Callie assured him.

"Oh....uhm......" Jake hesitated and looked over at his partner, questioning him with his eyes.

Chance thought a moment then shrugged and nodded.

"Okay, Ms. Briggs. We'll drop by and see him." He promised.

"Thanks guys." Callie said then cut the connection.

Jake hung up the phone. "Well, that's unusual, isn't it?"

"Yeah, but then he was in a world of hurt too. Let's go and get this over with. We could use a break about now." Chance said thoughtfully, wiping his paws.

"Sure. Fine by me." Jake agreed, turning to shut the garage door and putting up their 'out on a tow' sign.

In a very short time, they were flying toward Megakat Trauma Center and landing to one side of the hospital's chopper pad. Jumping out, they strolled through the ER doors and walked down the corridor to reach the elevator, ignoring the startled looks they got.

The elevator decanted them on a quiet floor with many doors and a nurse's station located at the center. They merely nodded at the stunned nurses that watched them pass by as they found Feral's room a few doors down.

They stepped in, closing the door quietly behind them. Feral lay half asleep on the bed, IV lines and various other equipment were attached to him. The bed rails were raised as were both his legs, which were suspended by pulleys and lines from the ceiling.

As they approached the bed, they were unhappy to see how pale and wane the Commander still looked. Pain hovered around his eyes and mouth even though he should be getting plenty of pain meds.

"Hi Feral." T-Bone said, keeping his voice low.

Feral blinked and opened his eyes. He turned his head slowly toward the voice. He blinked slowly and hissed suddenly in discomfort.

"Anything I can get you?" T-Bone asked quickly, not liking to see the gruff tom in so much pain.

"No.....s'all right. Don'...like...that...ssstuff." Feral's words slurred a bit.

T-Bone shook his head. "I hate being doped up as well, but you can't heal if the pain keeps you alert. Give in you stubborn idiot and stop trying to be such a tough guy." He scolded him firmly.

Feral looked startled then grinned a little before another wave of pain made him moan. "Fine!..... Kinda....bossy.....aren't.....you?" He said slowly, mildly amused that a SWAT Kat would take him to task for not allowing more pain meds.

T-Bone sighed, "Been there! Razor calls me a pain in the tail when I refuse meds too but I've learned that more meds meant a quicker recovery."

"Right, .....Dr. T-Bone.......press.....green.....button....." Feral slurred in good humor despite his pain.

Razor, who was near the machine in question, quickly did as bidden. He pressed the button a few times until Feral sighed in relief and relaxed, showing that he'd given the poor tom enough medication.

T-Bone could see Feral was drifting to sleep so they thought they should leave.

"Rest, get better. See you when you're on your feet again, Commander." He said by way of farewell.

"Thank....you.....for.....saving.....me!" Feral managed to squeeze out.

"You're welcome. Rest!" T-Bone smiled then the two of them left.

"Well that's certainly a first......him thanking us!" Razor said in amazement as they flew home.

"He nearly died in a really nasty way, buddy. Sometimes that makes you do unusual things." T-Bone said quietly.

Razor just nodded.

It took Feral more than four months to completely recover. He had to use crutches for a couple of months and undergo physical therapy for more months after that but he put up with it all....very glad to just be alive and thankful for a pair of vigilantes for that fact.