A PART OF YOU
A few months passed since the incident Mike had at his school. Never in his right mind that Chance would ever hear that the kid got in a fight. Mike suffered a few broken ribs and his right arm dislocated but the fight was not Mike's doing. There was another kid, bigger than Mike, that threatened his kid to death.
"My kid," Chance thought to himself. The tabby never thought of Mike as his own kit before until then. He did promise on Jake's grave to watch and protect Mike but never thought as his own child. Just watching the kid grow older made him more worry about just alike he resembled Jake and hardly had the courage to look at Mike in the eyes now.
Mike had recovered and was back to joining his friends and now trying out the track team for the new semester. Chance was extremely against the idea but he couldn't win against the all too familiar glare Mike gave him. The tabby submitted and allowed the kid to try out for the team. After a few hours of that conversation, he came up to Mike's room to talk.
"Hey, Mike." Chance said softly. The young tom was working on the rest of his summer homework.
"My school yearbook. Been ages since I looked through this." Chance chuckled.
"Huh? So...dad's in it?" Mike asked a bit scared. He hardly saw photos of his father and never asked to see any that remained. It usually made him sad and miss whatever memories he had of him.
"And your mom. We all went to the same school together." Chance sat down at the edge of Mike's bed. "I wanted to show you something."
Chance opened the book, feeling nostalgic, as the thick pages stressed from years of being unused. The school campus was the first thing he showed Mike then his class. Chance had told him stories of his days in high school along the way as he passed through the pages and remembered the old classmates he was friends with.
"Hey, it's uncle Dajh." Mike pointed him out from the row of student's profile. Chance felt lonely looking at the handsome tom he won't ever meet again. It pained him to see Dajh's smile burn deeply into his own sad eyes.
"Yeah," Chance tried hard to not sound hurt but his voice shivered.
The next few pages were about student's goal and Mike's mother was there. Mike had never seen a picture of his mom this young before and had to admit she was beautiful with her long blond hair and smile. The young tom took the yearbook in his hands to get a better view and read the caption underneath her photo, "To make our town a better place and more sustainable."
"Your mom was really into politics. She worked hard at school and kept them high enough to attend a respectful university but had to stop once she found out she was going to have you. But she planned to go back and finish. Callie was always a busybody and never once regretted having you."
"I remember mom," Mike teared a bit, "she always played with me. Took me everywhere she went. I was never a bad kid and behaved myself but..."
"It's okay Mike. I miss her too." Chance rubbed the young tom's back in support. He wasn't lying and considered Callie a good friend. After all, it was because of her that he was able to meet Jake in the first place.
"And what about dad?"
"Your dad," Chance took back his book and flipped through the pages, " he's right here."
Mike was surprised to his dad along with a few others holding a trophy. "2nd Place Regional Track Team." At that moment Mike felt a strong connection with his father and cried happily. Tears hit the pages as smiled; thanking Chance for showing him.
"Your dad did track too in high school. He was rather good at it and could have gone all the way but he wanted to be an Enforcer just like me." The tabby told him stories about the track meets he went just to support Mike's father. He even went off track and got lost in his memories about all the great times he had with Jake and just how much trouble they got when they didn't get home in time.
"So what about you?" Mike asked.
"Me... Well, I'm not exactly..." Chance tried hard to protest but he couldn't do it with Mike. The young kit had that special place in the tabby's heart to just spoil him and go along with whatever Mike wanted since the beginning. He turned the page and there he was in the crowd of the football team.
"Wow," was all Mike could say. He found his guardian among the crowd smiling and youthful. The once happy face that was now stressed and lonely completely showed just how long ago this picture was taken.
"You look good," Mike blushed. Chance blushed too but he didn't make eye contact with Mike. The tabby took back his book and got up from the bed to leave.
"Thanks Mike," Chance managed to say before exiting.
The kitten giggled as he ran around the lush green yard with a red toy plane gripped tightly in his paw. The sounds of it revving made by the kitten was a little off but that didn't bother him from his play. The sunlight was warm. The breeze was peaceful and everything seemed at peace. The trees rustled a bit and the smell of early spring filled the air.
"Mike, lunch time!" The kitten turned and saw a female standing by the porch. He knew her but couldn't make out her face yet he smiled. The blank expression felt welcoming and the face quickly filled in of his mother's.
"Someone's having a good day." A stronger voice came from behind her. Another empty face and Mike couldn't fill it in. The familiar presence was there but he couldn't make him out.
"What's wrong? Don't you remember me?"
"He probably doesn't since you've only seen him once." Another male entered the room and this one he knew was his father's.
The kitten sat in his booster chair to eat his lunch of a small cut sandwich with carrot sticks and apple juice. He ate happily with his parents beside him but the stranger made him worry. It spoke but the voice was familiar yet broken to what he couldn't understand.
"Hey! Get up!"
Mike opened his eyes startled by the loud yell from the other side of the door. He heard Chance walking away after a frustrated sigh which gave him a hint that maybe he was being called upon for a few minutes. His guilt hit him hard as he chuckled softly and rubbed his head then started to make his way to the bathroom of his room.
As he looked at himself in the mirror, he could see more of his father in him over the passing months. He had grown slightly more bulky than when he was last year. His natural male testosterone taking control and shaping his body with little effort of working out. Ever since he asked his Chance to start coaching him, he'd been put through a lot of hard exercises and gradually getting more advanced.
Yet the dream he had relaxed him through his sleep and made him happy. For a long time, he had dreamed of his parents and slowly filling in the peaces of what little memories he had. Mike never shared his dreams with Chance because he didn't want to bother his guardian and to be asked a lot of questions.
But that one stranger in his dream was new. He felt uneasy thinking about him and he knew he was familiar. The voice he can recall but not his face or a name. Probably never knew the stranger's name. His parents seemed to trust this stranger but he felt like he was missing something.
"All of this is giving me a headache…" Mike's stomach growled. "Man, I'm starving."
"It's about time you decided to get out of bed. I thought I told you to be ready by six in the morning." Chance scolded the young tom who blushed from embarrassment. "That doesn't matter anymore. I have pushed you hard so I'm giving you today to relax. If you want, we can spend the day together."
"Actually, I think I want to go to the city."
Mike's face looked unsure but he wanted to figure something out but he didn't want Chance to be involved. Not only did he know that Chance loved him, he was an Enforcer and would tail him at every moment with questions.
"To go to...the library. I have some unfinished reports for my history project."
"You told me you had done everything." Chance softly glared at his kit. Mike explained that he missed a page while he was focused on the rest of his summer school work. The young tom was relieved to have his guardian to believe him but, "why can't you just use the internet?"
"It said not to use online media for our sources. AP classes and stuff." He almost broke into a cold sweat but again his guardian believed him. "If I could lie to Chance about homework, then what else could I lie about," Mike thought.
"I'll be here by four so don't take too long after that. If you happen to finish early, call me. I'll be at Enforcer HQ to take care of some things while I'm here." Chance went on. Mike promised to every little rule he listened to and to stay out of trouble but he knew that the library might be a good place to start.
He learned his mother was a politician for a while and hoped that maybe she was in the papers. A quick look through the listings of newspaper articles and he could only come up with the accident from three different news prints. It seemed his mother wasn't well known just yet then he tried his father's name.
Surely enough, he found plenty of articles that dealt with his excellence in the academy and at Enforcer HQ. Awards for arresting common criminals and stopping a big heist that would have impaired City Hall for years. He saw just how much of a hero and appreciation he had toward his father and was proud to be what remained of his legacy.
Mike seemed at a lose about all this and not one helped him in what he was looking for. The stranger he kept thinking about in his search was nowhere to be found. He took a break and thought about how to approach his search to find what he was looking for.
A thought came to him as he remembered Chance telling him that he and Jake were once partners as Enforcers for a short time. But how did they become partners? Mike felt a little bad to do some digging about his guardian but there were a lot of news articles about him that he already knew young tom decided to pass his search during the year his parents were killed and came up with only two articles that seemed to be close to what he was looking for.
Enforcers Jacob Clawson and Chance Furlong tag team against a dark threat. Commander Ulysses Feral almost perished in that fateful dogfight and lost many good men to Dark Kat, who was relentlessly terminated for trying to destroy the Megakat City. The two Enforcers were promoted under the Commander's choice and honored for eliminating without hesitation for the lives of countless citizens.
The photo next to this brief explanation showed his father and Chance but there was a third cheering along with them. He was unfamiliar yet his name was written down in the caption. Megakat's Heroes with Enforcer Lieutenant Ian Switfpaw.
Mike went to look for more information on this Ian Swiftpaw and came up with more than he thought he would. A well respected Enforcer who was best friend to Ulysses Feral, both partners before until 1992 where Swiftpaw was relocated to the north as Commander. Around midwinter of 2007, Swiftpaw had gone M.I.A during a mission against an enemy invasion. A search for the Lieutenant was ongoing until 2008 where reports of his death was conclusive by a neighboring military force.
The young tom looked deeply into this Enforcer. He learned that he was married with only one child who runs a successful toy store under the Swiftpaw name. Lieutenant Swiftpaw was well rounded in military strategy and combat in both melee and long ranged. A skilled pilot and ranked close enough to the Red Lynx himself. But something about him seemed familiar. There was no way he could have possibly known him since nobody ever mentions him.
Then there was a link to a video feed of one of his speeches. It was towards the death of a mayor they failed to protect. Mike heard all about this in history but the name Ian Swiftpaw never appeared nor this speech. It was possible that this speech made no big impact but it was worth listening to.
I, with great grief, am here to humbly apologize for my lack of action and resourcefulness in protecting our beloved Mayor. I was there. I had reached him. I was suppose to see his safety. But I had taken the wrong actions. I endangered his life and my own with my lack of judgement. What has happened cannot be undone, I know. Apologizing will not bring him back either. But if we cast aside our grief, support each other, rather than licking our wounds, we will not disappoint Mayor James Ocelot. He cared for his citizens. And he in turn knew you respected him. May his spirit rest in eternal peace as we move on with what greatness he left for our prosperous city.
"That voice, it's him. He's the one from my dream. I must have been young to even have met this guy."
Mike was a bit confused to the timeline of when he was transferred to when he met the old Lieutenant. It seemed really off that he was born a year before missing in action yet he still remembers him through his dreams as a toddler.
"This is so frustrating! Why can't I get a coherent explanation?"
The young tom decided to call it quits for now. He knew it was almost time for Chance to pick him up in few minutes but he wanted to do one last thing before calling it a day. Eventually, he had to come clean with what he found to his guardian at some point, but for now, he wanted to be with Chance.
"Are you sure about his Uncle?" Chance tried his best not to listen in the Commander's conversation with his niece. It was an effort for the young Feral to get her uncle to step down from Commander to retire in peace. Chance didn't blame her for that the Commander was going to hit 64 in the next year.
"I can still run this place with full control. I am not stepping down. I won't sit back and wait to kick."
"That's not what… I understand Uncle. Just don't get too worked up. Your blood pressure is what will kill you, you know."
"Oh, how I know Felina. You don't have to remind me every time you see me." Both Ferals chuckled at the dark joke and the youngest was soon off to do her business. "Now, Lieutenant Furlong, what is it that has you here on your day off?"
"I came to speak with you over a retirement plan, sir." Chance chuckled nervously. "I may not be as iron gripped as you, but I do have a kit that I plan to spend some time with. I hardly ever see him, sir."
"You're still so young to even think about retirement. Look at me, I'm still at my prime." Chance didn't argue with that statement. A lot of great Enforcers retired long before Commander Feral could even think about it. The old tom still had a strong deep voice that rang with authority. The Commander may not be as strong as he was twenty years ago but he still retains muscles from years of being in the battle field.
"I cannot compare myself with you, sir. You were meant to be a leader until the end. Me, I still don't have a family of my own. I never wed. I was married to my job until I realized just how much time had passed. I know I won't be happy if I don't have a retirement plan in mind."
"You are indeed a great, Lieutenant. But is this really what you want? The boy, Mike, he is the prodigy of our own Jacob Clawson. Why do you obsess over the boy even if you aren't his birth parent?"
"I may not be his father, but I do love him. He is my best friend's kid and I will protect him until I cannot any longer. That is the promise I made to Jake's grave and Callie's too. But I lost sight of that promise and ignored the boy for several years when he needed me at times. He just looked too much as my partner that I focused on my work to ignore the depressing pain that returned inside me." Chance looked toward the ground ashamed of himself.
"I forgot about Mike and only saw Jake in his place which was the wrong thing to do. There were times where I didn't want to be near him and had to get away for a moment because of my past feelings with Jake but that wasn't something I could escape from. I was running away from my true feelings. It wasn't Jake I was loving again. It was Mike." The tabby admitted to himself about what he really felt and hid even to himself. He finally understood by what Dajh meant.
"In three years, I plan to retire. As of now, I plan to spend more time with Mike and to see him grown into a fine young tom."
"You have a good intention and I'm sure you know of the law already. Underage relationships can be a hassle if done incorrectly. And what of the case that is still in your hands?" Commander Feral asked in a serious tone.
"Don't worry, Commander. The team is closing in on the operations as we speak. We finally got Kat Scratch on the ropes once he slipped up. Being too tedious was his downfall and now the squadron is ready for your command. That was the second reason for my being here."
"It's about time you were to put an end to this. Almost a whole year and now we will put Kat Scratch in jail. You have done well, Lieutenant Furlong. I will give the order in your next arrival. You will lead the squadron as Commander. I want to see your skill before you retire in three years."
"Sir?" Chance was taken aback from the sudden news of his new role.
"Felina came here to speak to me about retirement again and here you stand, tall and full of experience. I've heard you give out orders to your team. Nobody made an issue to your commands and you stay calm throughout the operations. You do make a good successor."
"Commander, you don't mean to say,"
"I will step down and leave the Commander's chair to you once you prove your leadership with the squadron. I have high expectations." Feral smiled proudly to the tabby before him.
Chance never thought about being the Commander of the Enforcers but also felt that he was taking a role that was meant for Felina. But he knew he couldn't argue against the proposition given to him since the Commander had great faith in him. The tabby felt a huge weight on his shoulders yet he felt more excited about this whole opportunity.
When he left he Commander's office, he saw the time and it was a half hour until four. Chance quickly rushed to the bottom of HQ and made his way to the library hoping that Mike was there.
"He's late." Mike groaned after looking at his phone for the tenth time. It was already eighteen past four and his guardian hadn't shown up.
"I hope he has a good excuse for forgetting about me."
"I do." Mike turned around to see his guardian standing right behind him. "I was wondering where you were but I guess you couldn't tell by the road. I was on the other side since this is a one way street."
"I… You could have gone back around here!" Mike protested. He felt embarrassed about the situation but it felt like his guardian did it on purpose.
"Let me make it up to you." Mike looked up in Chance's eyes. They weren't so dull than they were last time. It had a youthful glow into them. "Let's catch a movie. Just the two of us."
"It's always been the two of us." Mike blushed. "Why are you being so nice all of a sudden?"
"I want to spend some time with my boy." Chance looked away hoping that maybe Mike hadn't caught him blushing. After some time and talking with the Commander, he realized that Jake wasn't who he loved anymore. It was Mike in Jake's image. And only his image.
"I decided that we should do more things together. You know, to get to know you better. I want to know you more than just the kid I take care."
Mike blushed hard but he was happy that he was given a chance. "A movie sounds nice. No cartoons though. I am not that young."
"I know. You're a handsome young man." Chance took his paw and they both walked together to enjoy their last remaining hours of the day.
This took too long to even get back to yet I was able to do this. Planning and revising. Revising and planning, IN THE HALL! Seriously, I need to work on a lot of my grammar errors that I keep making and ensure I rarely make these errors again. But I hope you enjoyed this chapter. Complete story or do I continue?