A CHRISTMAS SORROW

Christmas Day shone bright on this cold, snowy day. A beautiful day that the huge tom wasn't enjoying nor the happy activity going on behind him as he stood before the huge picture window, staring out at the snowy landscape, slowly drinking his hot tea.

A beautiful she-kat with a fall of black hair came to his side and gently touched his shoulder, a look of concern on her face.

"Ulysses?" She asked softly, so the kittens couldn't hear her.

The former Commander of the Enforcers didn't turn around but stared at her reflected image, a sad, distant look in his eyes. "I miss him," he murmured.

"Oh love, I know you do. He was your first love and that will always hold a place in your heart."

"You aren't upset by that?" He asked curiously.

"How could I be? I know you love me but I also know I have you only on the rebound from losing him. I told you when I said yes that I knew I would always be second in your heart and that I was satisfied with that," she said warmly, leaning her head against his shoulder.

Every year it was the same. Her mate would mourn his first love. They had been a pair for so many years.....enemies first than lovers for years after until the cruel accident that had taken him away. Ulysses had been so grief-stricken he couldn't function and had been put on administrative leave from his position for nearly a year.

It had taken him months of counseling and her company for him to even begin to live again. It was a couple of years before he finally allowed himself to love again and she was grateful and happy. He'd given her two lovely kittens who were growing fast, a beautiful home and his love as much of it as he was able to give her. It was a small price to pay to be allowed in his life. She gave him a kiss on the cheek and left him to mourn in peace.

His eyes grew misty as he remembered the cocky tom that had pissed him off so badly but then managed to get under his fur and win his heart. They sparred on opposite sides of the law for many years but gradually mutual respect grew between them then attraction bloomed much to his surprise. He resisted the tom's allure for as long as he could but one day a stolen kiss by the handsome tabby made his body heat with a fire deeper than any he'd experienced before.

They met in secret for months after that moment and their initial infatuation grew to a deep and abiding love. His partner didn't like it at first but bowed to the inevitable when it was obvious they truly loved each other.

Eventually, they took up living together, continuing the fight against the omegas until their enemies were finally defeated permanently and they could enjoy a long peace at last. They made the most of their new found freedom. The SWAT Kats dropped their vigilante personas and made a living off Jake's inventive talent. Chance had great fun flying their experimental jets. As for himself, he handed the reins of command to another and became a consult for a security firm.

They were happy and Christmas was there favorite time of year. But after only two years of pure bliss a stupid mistake by a green pilot took his love away from him.

They had been planning a special Christmas getaway but his lover had one more flight to make in his partner's new experimental jet. They took off on a nice clear day and things were going well until a pilot, who'd only had his license for a month, flew his small Cessna aircraft into the jet's flight path.

It was just an incredible fluke, a combination of things that ended in tragedy. A malfunctioning proximity alarm and the sun shining in the cockpit blinding them at the wrong moment kept them from seeing the small craft before it hit their right engine causing a fiery explosion that was too fast and violent for them to escape their jet. The green pilot had died as well.

He had fallen apart when he received the news. There hadn't been enough left to bury and just barely enough to identify them positively. He had to be sedated when he fell on the casket, weeping hysterically.

Now several years later, Christmas was not a cause for happiness but quiet sorrow and grief, probably remaining so until he died.

'Aw Chance, I miss you so very much. Please, be waiting for me on that other side, I'll be looking for you,' he prayed.

His kittens noted their father's sad face and went to his side to cheer him up. They might not have known why he was unhappy this time of year but they knew how to get him to cheer up. Without a word, they came to his side and hugged him tightly, showing him how much they loved him. He sighed and made an effort to pull himself away from his old grief and give them his attention.

He smiled tenderly at them giving each a kiss on the cheek. If he hadn't lost Chance, he'd never have kittens of his own and though he would have preferred that at the time, he didn't regret being a father now. He liked to think his love was watching over him and them. He allowed them to pull him away to join the family for dinner.

Through the still shining sunlight that was heading for the horizon, a glimmer of light shone brighter than the sun and a smiling image stared into the room for a moment.

"Merry Christmas, my love. Be happy, I'll see you soon enough!" Chance's ghost murmured warmly before vanishing once more.