A RAY OF LIGHT IN THE DARKNESS

Chapter 15: Epilogue

The morning after the battle rose sunny and warm. For the first time, she paid no heed to her alarm clock and continued to sleep wrapped around T-Bone's warm body. An hour after her alarm would have gone off the phone rang, jarring her awake.

Groping around blindly she finally found the noisy instrument. Her voice groggy, she barked, "Feral!"

"Commander, I'm sorry sir, Sgt Fallon here. I wanted to know if you intended to come in today?" Her sergeant apologetically asked.

"Huh? Well crud! What time is it?" She asked as she searched for the clock.

"It's eight, sir!" He said promptly.

"Aw hell, I'm sorry!...Uh...just a minute!" She forced her still sleepy mind to work. The war was over, everyone was taking a break (she hoped) but there were still some things she needed to ensure certain things were done before she too could take a much needed break. She wasn't tired physically, but her spirit could use some down time after all the stress she'd endured of late.

Sighing, she came to a decision. "I'll be in. Just let me get some breakfast. All quiet there?" She asked, shoving the bedding off.

"Yes, sir, very quiet and peaceful. Lt. Commander Steele is in to clear any of the normal paperwork needed doing. No calls from the Mayor's office yet nor the police commissioner. The investigation, cleanup and search teams are out at the scene right now and still no sign of Hard Drive," Fallon reported.

"Humph! Seems Razor might be right, our techno crook must never have been there at all. He's smart, after doing what Dark Kat wanted, he wisely skedaddled."

"A good assumption, sir. Since he's probably heard the battle is over by now and his side lost, he could have very well left town," Fallon mused, thoughtfully.

"Yea, wouldn't be a bit surprised. Keep an APB out for him for now; I'll be in shortly."

"Yes sir, see you soon." Fallon hung up.

Hanging up the phone, Ulera yawned and stretched. "You coming back when you're done?" a sleep thick voice mumbled from the other side of the bed. She turned to lean down over his face.

"Yes, I really should touch base with my officers, reassure the Mayor, and find out if anything went on while we we're occupied then I'll be back, perhaps by lunch. You staying?" she asked, coyly, batting her eyelashes and caressing his cheek.

He chuckled and giving her roguish smile, murmured, "Well, if you really want me to, I think my partner won't mind, really. How about I fix you a super lunch with a wonderful desert after, hmm?"

She purred in pleasure. "Sounds like a perfect afternoon. You're on." With that, she made for the shower. In very little time, she was dressed and heading out the door after quickly downing an egg sandwich and some coffee.

When she walked into her office a little while later, Steele was sitting at her desk sorting through a small stack of files. He smiled broadly at her when he heard her come in then got up from her seat and came to greet her.

"Good morning, sir. Nothing important has come up. Commissioner Henderfield called and said to call him when you got in. Ms. Briggs hasn't called yet and I've gone through the night shift reports and a few of the ones from the battle. They are in order of importance and only a few require your signature." Briefing her without being asked.

"Excellent. Thank you Steele. You going home now?"

"Soon sir. I have just a few other things to do in my office then I'm gone. Planning on getting some sun and laze on the beach...haven't done that for some time."

"Great idea and it looks to be a fine day for it too. Is there enough of the force to cover the city while the rest is on break?"

"Yes sir, though we're spread rather thinly. Fortunately, with the city fairly bursting with happiness, I don't expect any problems needing the Enforcers much at all. The police will have a bit of a heavier work load for a few days due to overly indulging Katizens celebrating their freedom from the omega threat but nothing they can't handle. Since the sun came up, it's been a very peaceful day and there are no signs that it won't stay that way for long time," Steele said briskly. "May I say sir, it is a wonderful feeling not to have to worry about staying on high alert every day. Perhaps we can now be a normal city with normal problems." Satisfaction, pleasure and hope filled his voice.

"That is my hope too. Driving here, I could feel and see the city give a collective sigh of relief at their freedom by the many smiles and happy faces I saw." A smile gracing her face. "Go get done what you need to and enjoy your well deserved break. I'll see you on Monday, oh, and be sure to tell the watch commander where you can be reached as you are on standby."

"I expected that, sir and have already told him. Just don't stay around here too long yourself and have a nice break, you truly deserve it." Smiling broadly, he saluted her then turned on his heel and left.

"Unless you have anything urgent to complete, you're excused as well Sergeant."

"Just a few things to take care of sir and I will. See you on Monday." Fallon saluted, smiling warmly, before turning about and leaving himself.

Alone in her office, she went to her desk and began to make some calls. The first person she got a hold of was Police Commissioner Henderfield. He reported that nothing out of the ordinary had occurred in the city while the battle raged outside it. They had been so unaffected, the Katizens seemed to not be aware of the danger so close by. The only problems being encountered now were the ones Steele had already briefed her on. She thanked him and he congratulated her on their victory before they both hung up.

Smiling in relief, she called the Mayor's office next. A relaxed and happy Callie answered the phone. "Oh, Commander, you're in? I thought you'd take time off like your troops?"

"Oh, believe me, I plan to but there were some details I needed to deal with first. How are things at your end?"

"Oh, quiet like a tomb around here. The council announced a holiday to celebrate our freedom and the Mayor led the way, so none of them are here right now. I wouldn't be here either but I needed to finish up some loose ends and reports so I won't be faced with it on Monday. It's so lovely outside, I'm looking forward to sunbathing at the beach. Never had a break in far too long."

"Isn't that the truth for all of us," Ulera gave an amused snort. "I called to tell you I have enough Enforcers to cover the city and Steele is on stand by. Commissioner Henderfield reports a quiet city with the normal problems, and my investigation team is out at the scene collecting evidence and clearing the site. No sign of Hard Drive. I suspect he got smart and left the city but since we don't know for certain, I've got an APB out for him. Which leaves only the threat of the Pastmaster to haunt us, still."

"And he's not one for frequent visits, so we're a normal city at last, more or less. There are those occasional accidents and rare visitors from space, but generally, we can finally stop being on alert status at last. How wonderfully freeing that is," Callie said, pleased and relieved. "So how are you going to spend your much deserved off time?"

"Hmm, hadn't thought about it much yet but I'm sure I'll think of something. Enjoy your time off, Ms. Briggs," Feral said, feeling very good.

"You too, Commander. You deserve it," Callie said, warmly then hung up.

Sighing happily, Feral went through the things Steele had left her, signed several documents then left it in her out basket. Finished, she looked at the time and found it was just going on eleven. Cool! Done before lunch. Time to go home, she thought, excited about what T-Bone might have planned.

~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~

After Ulera left, T-Bone reluctantly shoved the blankets off and headed to the bathroom. Returning to bed minutes later, he paused to contact his partner. Pulling his comm from his suit that was laying on a chair, he activated it. Seconds later he was greeted by a very grumpy, sleepy voice.

"What?"

"Where's my early bird? You're normally up at this time and well into a day's work?" the tabby asked, amused and surprised.

"Hey, after all those late night searches and the extreme tension of working too many long hours, you bet I'm tired. What do you want?" Jake growled, rolling to his back and staring blindly up at the ceiling of his room.

"Don't' bite my head off buddy. I would still be sleeping too if Ulera hadn't wakened me as she got up to go finish up some things at work. Before she left she asked if I would stay with her for a while. Unless you have an objection, I intend to remain with her for a few days. Any problems with that?"

Jake smothered a yawn. "Nah, we're good. For the first time, we can really take a break. We deserve it! Don't have any customers and I plan on keeping the garage closed a few days to enjoy my mini-vacation too. It'll give me a chance to work on some long delayed projects as well. See you in a few days; have fun."

"Thanks buddy. Get your rest and don't bury yourself in the dark too long. Get out in the sun for a bit too. See you soon." Getting an assurance that Jake would go out and have some fun besides working, T-Bone closed the comm, put it away in his suit, then crawled back into bed.

He slept a few more hours then woke when his alarm went off. Groaning, he rolled to a seated position and rubbed his face. Deciding a shower was in order, he stumbled off to take one.

More refreshed some fifteen minutes later, he dressed and headed off to the kitchen. He remembered from his last look in Ulera's fridge that she'd had some steaks in the freezer and some other treats she must have bought recently.

Humming to himself, he set about making a fabulous meal for them both. By the time Ulera entered her apartment, it was filled with delicious odors. She put her coat away then drifted to the kitchen.

"Hmm, my...something sure smells wonderful," she said hungrily. The stove and counters were filled with various things.

Laughing, T-Bone turned and caught her up in his arms then gently hustled her out of the kitchen. "Uh uh...stay out...I'm not finished yet. Go get changed and be my beauty before coming back. Now git!" he said, giving her butt a friendly swat.

"My, pushy much?" She laughed then headed off to do what he'd asked. Pulling her uniform off and hanging it, she studied her rather limited feminine attire.

"Hmm, I need to do some discrete shopping. I should have more than ten female items in here," she murmured aloud. After pawing through her clothes, she finally settled on a stunning Dual Floral Print Satin Feel Beaded Halter Smocked Bodice Handkerchief Hem Dress that she'd bought in a moment of weakness. The name might be long but the dress wasn't, reaching only just above her knees. It had a deep plunging neckline and hugged her curves in all the right places.

She been taken with it since it was in her favorite colors, green and blue. Slipping it on, she looked at herself in her mirror. An attractive and unusual female stood there where a male once had been. With her contacts out and her face back to normal, she looked fabulous. Smiling, she did one more thing she hadn't done before, made her hair longer.

She watched, breathlessly, as her hair went past her shoulders before stopping. It had a light curl to it with a flirtatious bang over one eye. The overall effect was stunning. Smiling to herself, she strolled barefoot out of her bedroom and made for the kitchen again. Peering through the doorway, she watched him putter around, setting the table, putting the food on it, and getting a bottle that wasn't milk to set nearby.

The simple kitchen table had been transformed into an elegant setting by virtue of a tablecloth she forgot she had, her best china, and two wine glasses. And in the center was a vase of red roses.

Where the heck did he get those?" she wondered.

She walked in as he lit two candle holders with two black candles in them. He'd closed the blinds to make the kitchen a little darker. On each plate was a t-bone steak, baked potato, and a crisp green salad. Canned biscuits had been cooked and were in a basket with butter on a tray beside it to finish the elegant look of the meal.

"Oh, T-Bone, how lovely and it smells divine," she cooed, thrilled to be treated so nicely.

He turned his head to smile at her but his mouth dropped and, if she could have seen his eyes, they would have been bugging out of his head.

"Wow! Don't you look good enough to eat," he growled playfully, coming to her side and kissing her hotly then broke the kiss and escorted her to her seat, even pulling the chair out for her. "You dressed to kill alright. Hope my meal can compete," he said, grinning. He poured out the wine for both of them then sat across from her.

"I offer a toast. To freedom and to you for being strong enough and brave enough to give it to us," he said solemnly.

She blushed but gently clinked her glass against his and drank the toast. They dug into their food and didn't speak until the last morsel had been consumed.

"That was wonderful. Who knew you were such a good cook?" She set her knife and fork down and leaned back to drink her wine and let her food digest.

"I have my moments." He grinned, pleased he'd done a good job. She truly deserved to be treated this way every day after what she suffered early on in life.

Eyeing him over her glass, she got up the courage to ask him something that had been on her mind lately. "T-Bone, do you feel as comfortable around me as I do you?" He felt so right in her home but did he feel the same way? Hiding her nervousness, she waited for his answer.

He stared at her for a long considering moment before answering. "Yea, I do, actually. It's kinda funny how well we seem to get along when we aren't thinking like SWAT Kat and Commander. I like being with you. And the sex is intense," he added, smirking.

She blushed, pleased but still had one more question. "So, where do we go from here?"

"Honestly, I don't know. The SWAT Kats aren't going to be needed much after this so we'll have to redefine what we want to do but quitting isn't an option. In terms of you and I, since I'll have more time on my paws, which I suspect will be the same for you, I see no reason not to continue building a relationship which we've been doing without noticing."

"We have? I hadn't realized that." She blinked, surprised.

"See, it just sort of kept going after my frequent visits turned into a bit more than just sex," he assured her.

"Yes, you're right about that. I got rather used to you being there not just for sex but your insight on so many things. I just hadn't realized that's what a friendship is supposed to be like since I never had one in my life before," she mused.

"Now that is just wrong. Sure you were hiding yourself, but you should have at least formed some friendships, especially during your time in the academy," he objected, surprised and concerned.

She shrugged her shoulders and took another sip of her wine. "How could I? I wasn't really one of the guys you know and just like any female, I really didn't know a male's mind well enough to risk something so personal to happen. And, females?...They were looking for something else from me and obviously, I couldn't give them that since I wasn't really male."

T-Bone sat back and studied her. What a mess! No wonder she had no real social skills when it came to how a male and female behaved. She had learned social niceties to work in politics but in her personal life, she hadn't a clue how it worked. He shook his head. That just wasn't right but there was nothing he could do about the past and only the present matter anyway.

"Life hasn't been kind to you for a very long time, Ulera but that changes now," he said finally. He set his glass down and reached across for her paw. "I'll teach you what it means to be in a relationship and how to recognize friends and how to interact with them. None of them needs to know you are female and a different species to be good friends. By the way, you already have the beginning of some great friendships though they are considered acquaintances right now."

She frowned at him. "What's the difference between the two?"

"An acquaintance is someone you know casually; like Steele, your ranking officers, Commissioner Henderfield, Manx, Dr. Sinian, Dr. Konway, Professor Hackle, etc. A friend, on the other paw, is someone with whom you have a bond of mutual affection, typically one exclusive of sexual or family relations; like Ms. Briggs, my partner, Sgt Fallon, who cares a lot about you, by the way. Then there's me...I would be considered your lover and friend. Understand?"

She frowned and thought about it. "Yes, I think I do.

"Good! Then it's a matter of training you to recognize which is which and how to build a friendship. Okay?"

"Sounds interesting."

"By the way, have you had time to get with Dr. Sinian on locating more of your people and learning more about them?"

She shook her head. "No, there's been no time."

"There is now. Make an appointment to see her and get started. You might have a bigger family out there that does care about you, won't know until you look," he said encouragingly.

He didn't know what her clan was truly like or he wouldn't be in such a hurry to meet more of them, she thought grimly. But he was right. She really didn't know if all the clans acted like hers or that hers was an aberration. She shivered. Gods! She truly hoped all of them weren't like that. It would mean the Kats had an unknown and deadly enemy waiting for the right moment to bring them together.

"You look spooked. What are you thinking?"

She turned away, not really wanting to talk about it but he wouldn't allow secrets between them then winced when he realized he was keeping one from her so who was he to talk? Shaking himself mentally, he soothed his conscious by telling it he would be revealing himself to her soon enough, especially if they were going to get even more serious. So, right now for her mental well being, he needed her to be up front with him about her fears and concerns.

He reached out and gently pulled her chin toward him so they were eye to eye. "What is it?"

She let out a breath then told him what she'd been worrying about. He shook his head and stared at her thoughtfully.

"Your concerns are valid as you know more about your people than I do however, as you've already told us, you know nothing about other clans and if yours was normal or not. I hope it isn't for your sake but I promise we will take due care when we seek out more of your kind, okay?"

Giving him a tentative smile, Ulera relaxed. "Yes, thank you."

"You're welcome." He smiled warmly then a roguish spread across his masked face. "Are you ready for dessert?"

Eyeing him curiously and wondering what he was up to, she said cautiously, "I think so. What do you have in mind?"

"That's for me to know and for you to find out," he said mysteriously. "I want you to go back to the bedroom and strip. Lay on the bed on your back. I promise you, you will love what I have in mind," he said, smirking.

She cocked her head and eyed him, wondering what he was up to. "Alright." She got up and walked, hips swaying provocatively, out the kitchen door.

T-Bone nearly groaned aloud seeing that fine ass sashaying away like that. This evening was going to be good. He went to the fridge and retrieved some items he put on a tray. Smiling broadly, he cleared the table first, put out the candles, then picked up the tray and headed for the bedroom.

There she lay, as he'd asked her to, eyeing him with slumberous eyes that had his cock rising with excitement. She frowned in confusion at the items on the tray but said nothing.

Pleased she trusted him enough to do this, he hurriedly pulled his clothes off. Picking up a bottle that said chocolate syrup on it, he went to her side and grinned. "Now the fun begins." He proceeded to drizzle the syrup over each nipple then down to her mounds.

She gasped, her eyes round, at the delicious sensation of the cool syrup touching her. But what he did next sent her flying.

By the time darkness fell outside, she was limp, sticky, and wonderfully satisfied. He'd used whip cream, ice cubes, and warm honey during their long hours of play. She never knew such things could be sex toys. Her mate's choices consisted of whips, electro shock, cruel restraints, and other nasty devices that were suited more toward the S and M crowds. Something she'd learned was practiced by the more adventurous of the city dwellers when she was a lowly beat cop.

Gentle play that aroused a hotter fire was something she had no familiarity with. Her lover was a fantastic and skillful lover who knew how to draw out every ounce of pleasure from her body while she learned to do the same for him.

"You look very satisfied," he murmured, interrupting her thoughts as he licked her cheek lazily, too tired to do much else.

"Oh, that doesn't begin to describe what you've done to me. It was glorious and I love you so much for showing me another side of sex," she purred.

"You're welcome, sweetness. You deserve everything I can give you," he said warmly.

She hadn't believed that possible nor deserved it but his constant reassurances were convincing her that she did deserve happiness and believed his promise that he would be the one to give it to her. She sighed and smiled to herself.

I certainly made the right decision when I ran from home and came here, she thought. Who knew from such a dismal past, I would find true happiness?