*note- This is NOT a slash fan fiction.
Recently, my thoughts have begun to wander.
Now, they were always all over the place, as you well know.
But now they’ve stumbled upon the past.
Do you remember the first summer after we met? We were so glad for school to be over, we just went nuts. We were so young then. Old cliches go: you’re only young once. Another cliche for you:
Where does the time go to?
Mainly, what I remember, is the smell of the grass.
High morning, stepping out on a Sunday. Out of the church building. It was a feeling of such release after those hours of boredom.
Do you remember when we drew the targets on the collection envelopes and played floor-darts behind the pew?
Here my thoughts go again. But the grass is what I remember, what I come back to. The minute you stepped out, and the heavy sunlight splashed onto your cold-church chilled forehead, you could smell the smell of fresh cut grass. Almost sickening in a way, but it got our adrenaline pumping somehow, and off we sprinted into the delicate church lawn, our mothers crying out, our church clothes getting grass stains, live green on insipid navy blue.
The rest of the afternoons are a hazy, humid blur, delicious all the rest.
The sidewalk was too hot, and your pool was too cold. But we jumped in anyway, coming back to the surface, laughing through our chattering teeth. Our mothers sat there, looking like women in their bathing suits, talking about what a nuisance we could be.
In the summers, they were young, too.
It’s funny to think about it now. We’re older than our mothers were. Now we can see them as the females they were, and not “mom”.
Time slips away so easily.
So do my thoughts.
They slip far more forward than I thought time could travel.
We thought we had grown so much, thought we were so much older and wiser, knowing how the world worked.
If we knew how the world worked, why were we still anarchists?
At any rate, my thoughts go directly to the girls. The short skirts of an adolescent summer still cloud my vision with pink.
Gold on pink, blonde in a sundress is what I remember most. I remember, as well, how it never worked out.
She was too much woman for you to handle, I still think.
But I am sorry for that one afternoon, down beneath the pier on the beach. Though now we both know you didn’t truly love her, I still shouldn’t have kissed her.
Funny how as I think of this, she probably doesn’t even remember that day. One admirer in a million, eh pal?
We take touch for granted. We always assume the one we love will be just in our reach.
We both know that’s wrong though, don’t we?
But I can’t feel sorry for myself. Some people never have that person within their reach. I’m lucky I had you.
That’s another thing growing up shows you. Love runs deeper than touch, than lust, than spoken word. It is an instant that passes between souls, something you feel most only after it’s gone.
I was damned lucky I had you.
Chance Furlong looked for a place on his arm without grease on it. Finding none, he went for the spot with the least. Realizing he was soaked to the skin in the grimy black liquid, he thought it to hell and wiped his sweat-dripping head with his forearm.
“Eck. It’s too hot for this. Too hot for anything.”
Jake Clawson walked back out of the kitchen door, walking back into the garage.
“It’s summer. What do you expect?” Jake studied the smudge across Chance’s forehead with a smirk for a second, but then said, “Come on. We’ve got to go pick up Callie.”
“We don’t offer transportation to our other customers…”
Jake looked far off. “Callie isn’t ‘other customers’, Chance.”
Chance couldn’t understand the look on Jake’s face. He could, but what he understood just confused him further. This was Callie, after all, whom he’d-
Jake touched his friend’s shoulder softly. “Are you alright, buddy?’
“Oh. Yeah. I’m fine. Let’s go.”
Jake grinned. “We do have time to clean up…” The caramel kat looked at the grimy stripe down Chance’s face. He got the hint and went into the bathroom.
Ignoring the symbolism of the streak down his face, he wiped it off, trying to also ignore the thoughts that ran through his head.
They were memories.
“I wonder where he is?”
“I don’t know…it sure is hot. Too hot for anything.”
“Not for anything.” The pink furred, blonde haired she-kat leaned against an old, splintered pole that held up the old, splintered pier. She smiled insinuatively, and Chance couldn’t help it as he began to lean forward.
Soon enough he found himself embracing the beautiful young Calico Briggs in his arms, his lips locked to hers. A chilling thrill ran through his chest and down his spine to the tip of his tail. What didn’t register is that in his mind he saw someone else entirely.
The blonde tabby’s head snapped up as he heard a small whimper from above.
A reedy, rust coloured kat ran from the pier onto the crowded boardwalk.
“Oh my god.”
Chance took off running after Jake, leaving Callie a surprised she-kat under the pier.
“Jake!” He called. The smaller kat stopped and waited for Chance to catch up with him.
“Jake, I-“ The small kat cut him off. He looked at Chance, looked down at him even though he was so much shorter. In a low, growl threaded voice, he uttered simply.
“You knew, Chance. And there’s no excuse.”
Then, he took off running again, leaving Chance helplessly behind him.
The gold tabby threw the paper towel into the trash, throwing with it this latest batch of memories.
“C’mon, Chance!” the other kat called. Chance walked out just as his best mate hopped into the truck.
Jake looked over at his friend with genuine concern.
“Are you sure you are alright?”
Chance just grunted an affirmative and pulled out of the driveway.
Jake and Chance sat in Calico Briggs’ living room, quietly sipping iced teas. Jake talked easily to the beautiful young she-kat, while Chance stayed to himself mostly. If she would only quit throwing him those glances….
The ones that told of longing and regret…regret nothing had ever really happened between them.
Chance’s razor-sharp claws dug into the side of his leg in disgust- mostly self disgust. He stared down at the deep blue carpet, at a stain that seemed to shift shapes before him. When Callie went back into the kitchen, Jake turned to his pal briefly. He placed a soft paw on his shoulder.
“Chance….you okay in there?”
Chance looked up and almost cried out. There was a brief flash to the past as that look-the look Jake had on his face as he gazed off the pier- was there. He breathed hard and fast. Sweat glistened through his fur.
The past came forward in spastic flashes.
“Buddy, are you okay?”
Chance looked up to see Jake’s burnt-sienna eyes looking worriedly into his own. The tabby sat up, immediately regretting it as a spectrum of coloured dots flooded his already weak vision.
“Where am I?” He looked around and saw the house he spent half his childhood in. “Wha-what am I doing here?”
Jake looked at him oddly. “Uh…Chance…you live here…I guess he knocked you pretty hard this time…”
“Shayne…but I haven’t seen him in almost twenty years…”
Jake snorted. “You wish…come on, lets get you to my house, huh?”
Chance looked over at him…it was the same Jake, the same young Jake whom he had betrayed. Chance tried to remember back…this was almost three months after it had happened…
Chance thought wildly as the small teen Jake led him to his house down the block.
They reached Jake’s house and he somehow whizzed the bruised Chance by his mother. Jake knew the last thing his friend wanted to do was be pelted by questions from the sort of mother he didn’t have. The brown tabby locked the door behind him as Chance came to sit on Jake’s bed. He looked around the room in awe: this is what it looked like when they were both sixteen. He almost yelped in surprise when he caught a glimpse of himself in the mirror:
He was a teenage kat again.
Jake sat on the floor in front of Chance, studying him quietly. Finally, he whispered, “Are you alright?”
Chance swallowed hard. He couldn’t believe the amount of concern Jake held for him, even after the way he constantly treated him. If he were actually a teenager now, he probably would have been taking his anger out at Jake. But now, being older, he could see what an amazing friend Jake had always been.
He felt tears well at the corners of his denim eyes, and before he knew it he was crying. Jake cocked his head in surprise and pulled himself onto the bed next to the weeping tabby.
“Chance…its alright, really…”
He sniffed and picked his head up. He looked at Jake. He was always so vulnerable looking, yet strength shone through his eyes. Strength and comfort.
“No, its not.”
“Chance, really it is. We’re here and he’s gone and-“
“No! Not him. You.”
Jakes ear stood erect in surprise. “Me? What did I do?”
Chance slapped the bed. “You didn’t do anything. It’s what I did.”
“What did you do?”
“What haven’t I done? Jake, I’ve always been so horrible, and you’ve always been the greatest friend. I just want to say-“
Chance’s gaze shot back up to Jake, who again had that worried look about him.
“What in hell was that?” Chance thought aloud.
“What was what?”
Chance stood up and walked to the door.
“Chance, what was what? Talk to me.”
Chance turned around to face Jake as Callie came back into the room. He looked hard at her then looked back at Jake. Finally, staring at Callie, he growled softly.
“I better go.” He turned and stalked out the door.
Jake turned to Callie. “I guess I better go, too. I had a nice time Miss Briggs.”
“See ya Jake.”
Something is bugging Chance and he won’t talk to me about it.
Today he started getting really secretive for some reason. While we were at Callie’s, he went into some sort of trance or something. I’m really worried about him. I’m wondering if this has something to do with Callie. He seems really uncomfortable around her. I hope that is the reason.
So maybe this is just a case of unrequited love?
But there never seems to be enough time
To do the things you want to do
Once you find them
I’ve looked around enough to know
That you’re the one I want to go
Through time with
If I had a box just for wishes
And dreams that had never come true
The box would be empty
Except for the memory
Of how they were answered by you
-Time in a Bottle, Jim Croce
Chance stared up through the dark at the molding rafters of the ceiling. It was especially humid up in the loft he and Jake shared as a room, and the air ran through his teeth like gelatin. Slowly, the heavy air closed his eyes for him, and he drifted off to what he knew would be a restless sleep.
Across the room, Jake lay on his side in his bed. He couldn’t sleep either. Whatever was bothering Chance was really starting to show through. Jake watched his best friend’s sleep, his gold-furred eyelids fluttering madly. He had an overwhelming compulsion to comfort him, but he just didn’t know how. Chance hadn’t been this blue since they were both teenagers. Then, he realized. It was only two days until the Fourth of July, the day all of Northern Hemisphere Felinus celebrated their independence.
It was also the day Chance’s mother had died. But why was it bugging him after ten years?
Chance spent the night at Jake’s house. Shayne certainly didn’t care, his mother was out somewhere, and Jake’s mother Julia was a saint, so he was more than welcome to stay for however long he desired.
Chance opened his eyes from his deep sleep to find himself back in his past. He sat up in Jake’s bed: he had exchanged it for the floor just so Chance would be more comfortable. He stood out of the bed, wishing the mattress didn’t creak the way it did. Gazing out of the window, and then down at the floor at the sleeping Jake, he opened the door silently and crept out. Out of the bedroom, down the stairs, and out the back door.
Behind Jake’s house was a rather large backyard, perimetered by a wooden fence. The grass was cool and shown a silver colour in the light of the full moon. There was a large tree that grew in the right corner of the yard near the back fence. In it sat a tree house Jake’s father had built for them before he had died. The last time he had been in that thing was when he was ten years old. He hoped it still would hold his weight, and climbed into it.
It was a small open room, with a window that brought in a flood of the moonlight. He closed the small door behind him. He was big, but there was still plenty of room, and it seemed to hold alright. He settled into the back corner when suddenly he heard a low voice.
“Mind if I join you?” The voice purred softly. Chance recognized it and opened the door. Jake pulled himself into the room, shutting the door behind him.
“What are you doing in here?” He asked.
Chance looked at the moon, then Jake. The light struck across his mahogany fur like silver on blood, and it was almost breathtaking.
“About what?” Jake cocked his head at him.
Chance felt his eyes burn and then a hot tear slid down his cheek smoothly.
“Jake…I’m just so sorry….” He closed his eyes and shook his head.
“About what?” Jake furrowed his brow, scooting closer to him.
“Just..everything….I mean…”He sniffed. “You’ve been just so wonderful to me, and I’ll I’ve ever done is hurt you.”
“That’s not true, Chance. You are my best friend. I’m never happier than when I’m with you. You always pull me out of my cruddy moods, are always there for a laugh, or an ear, or a shoulder.”
“But what about….Callie?”
Jake winced a little, dropping his gaze, but then picked his head back up. “She-kats come and she-kats go. Friends are always and forever.” With that, he put an arm around Chance’s shoulder. Although he couldn’t be happier, he cried even more, hugging Jake tightly. Though he could barely breathe from the large kat’s embrace, he held tight, and would be there until morning if Chance needed him.
Tonight is the night before the fourth….well duh. Anyway, I think I may have figured out Chance’s problem. The fourth, of course, is the day his mother died. But he wasn’t even close to his mother. Why would this bug him. Though I’m confused, I’m a little relieved to find that Chance was in a better mood this morning. He seemed really quiet, however, like he wants to say something. I hope he knows I’ll always be here no matter what.
Well, today’s the day, and I don’t really know what to expect. I’m looking out the window right now…there are a bunch of storm clouds off to the East. Great. All we need is rain…
Chance sat out on the patio on the room over the garage. He had his sun glasses on, even though the sky had darkened over, and an extremely loud orange Hawaiian shirt. In his paw, he held a thick Crime Mystery novel, but his gaze was off somewhere in the distance. Jake climbed up the stairs cautiously, and ventured forth even more cautiously.
“Hey, Chance. How are you doing today?”
Chance turned his head toward Jake. He looked at him for a moment, then took off his sun glasses.
“Do you know what today is?”
“It’s the fourth….of July.” Jake bit his lip, and Chance nodded. Finally, Jake came to sit at the end of the lawn recliner in front of Chance’s feet.
“Chance, buddy, if this is about your mother…”
Chance looked confused. “What about my mother?”
Now, Jake looked surprised. “Today is the day-“
“She died. I know.” Chance nodded. “But this has nothing to do with my mother.”
“What’s this all about then?” Jake requested eagerly.
Chance held his right paw up. On the pad of the palm, there was a slight, paper thin scar. Jake’s face lit up as he remembered. Jake held his right paw up. There was an identical scar. Chance grasped their hands together.
“Its been ten years, though it’s hard to believe”, Chance mumbled, looking at their hands.
“I know. Nothing’s changed…but nothings the same either.” Jake shook his head, looking at their hands as well. “But why is it bugging you this much?”
Chance looked into Jake’s eyes. “Because we formed this bond, yet I was still so awful to you, all the time.”
“Aw, Chance…” Jake shook his head, and moved his paw from Chance’s paw to his shoulder. “Don’t you remember that night in the treehouse?”
Chance’s eyes widened. “That actually happened?”
Jake nodded his head. Chance felt like he was going to cry.
“I wonder what else I’ve forgotten…”
“Probably not a lot. I didn’t really remember it until this morning…that night sort of drifted into my mind when I woke up, probably because I’ve been so worried about you.”
“You shouldn’t waste your worries on me-“ the phone rang distantly- “you’ve got a beautiful she-kat to take all your worries out on.” Chance smiled, if not ruefully. Jake smiled, and headed down to the garage. Chance looked back to the clouds, and felt a raindrop on his nose. He gathered his stuff and headed downstairs, where he met Jake.
“That was Callie. She needs me to go pick up her car. You wanna come?”
Chance smiled the same smile, shaking his head. “That’s alright. I’ve got a few things to do. ‘Sides, I would just get in the way of your patented Jake Love-Mojo.”
Jake laughed. “Alright. See ya.”
The sprinkling picked up to rain as Jake drove off in the towtruck, and Chance headed inside.
He flopped onto the couch and flipped on the tellie. There was nothing on, really. He left it on an infomercial about a waffle iron and just vegitated.
To Be Continued….
Navigate This Author's Stories
Disclaimer: SWAT Kats: The Radical Squadron is copyright to Hanna-Barbera Cartoons Inc. All Rights Reserved. © 1995. All other characters and material within this page are the property of their respective creators.