Author’s Note: Hey everyone, I know it’s been a really long time since I’ve updated last. I just moved back to Alaska, and between unpacking, as always college, a new job, and internet connections issues it’s been nearly impossible for me to work on JR. But, now that I’m settled in, and starting to get my head wrapped around everything I was able to whip this chapter out. I know this one is a little short both in length and character perspective, but I wanted to get something up A.S.A.P to let you guys know that I’m still working on it! I have started Chapter 13 already, so hopefully everything goes according to the outlined plan. ?
Just want to give a special thanks to Ulyferal and Peri of the Elves for their beta-reading and further insight on this story. Also to a new reader, Black Oracle, whose awesome reviews have provided alot of motivation to get this sucker done so that I can move on to my other SK muses!!
Hope this is worth the wait. :]]]]
Serious doubts were forming as he played the day’s events over in his mind’s eye. At the time, he had been too immersed in the moment to even notice the small peculiarities that now started to contaminate his girlfriend’s usual character, making his suspicions all the more demanding. Her complete lack of emotion towards him and Chance, along with the absence of her resolute opinion and resolve on discovering Feral’s past transgressions and their current state, disturbed him greatly.
Something wasn’t right.
As he listened to the subtle noises of the activity coming from the kitchen, he once again glanced down at her Blackberry. Who had she been texting earlier and why had she been frowning while she was doing so?
Jake looked up towards the entrance of the kitchen to see Callie walking in with two cups of steaming tea in her paws. A subtle smile lingered on her lips as she sat down next to him and set the cups down on the coffee table.
“There we go. I put a little bit of honey in yours to sweeten it up a little bit.”
“Thank you.” He smiled slightly, not sure if he should trust the hot beverage she placed before him.
Callie sighed contentedly as she leaned back and rested her elbow on the back of the couch, resting her head in her paw as she looked at him. “What are you thinking about?” she finally asked after a moment of silence passed.
He shrugged while turning his head to look at her. He was going to test her, to see if he could confirm his suspicions. “I was just thinking back on what happened today. Felina told me that the reason why you stayed behind in City Hall was because you had to grab some paperwork.”
Callie raised her eyebrow curiously, not sure where he was going with his train of thought. “Yes?”
“I noticed you didn’t have any paperwork with you when we left.”
A smile tugged at the corner of her mouth. “I must have dropped it… in the struggle.”
“Hope it wasn’t too important.”
She shook her head. “We have copies in the office.”
Her reply was simple, not indulgent with any further information. Jake wasn’t satisfied with how this conversation was going.
“I was just curious.”
Callie tossed her hair lightly with a slight shake of her head, her laugh surprisingly musical. “You’re always curious, my dear,” she purred as she scooted closer to him, and before Jake could even blink, she had put her paw behind his head and pulled him to her, kissing him.
Somewhat stunned, Jake let her push him back onto the couch and lay herself on top of him as her kiss quickly grew passionate, seemingly exclusive from all reality. Normally, he would have been rendered helpless and incapable of any thought when Callie kissed him in this manner. However, this time, he actually recovered from the shock after a few seconds, when realizing that Callie was kissing him with a very dominant nature.
It wasn’t right; this wasn’t the Callie he knew at all. Jake opened his eyes, getting ready to push her away when he saw that she had the syringe clenched firmly in her paw, its glistening needle mere inches away from his exposed neck.
His paw shot out and grabbed her wrist, twisting it so that she was made to drop the syringe on the floor. She let out an irate yowl, her eyes dangerous glistening slits as her claws from her free paw dug into his chest. Jake quickly flung her off of him onto her back on the floor alongside the couch. With a menacing hiss, she reached for the syringe lying just a few inches away, but failed to retrieve it as Jake wrestled her flat onto her back. He grabbed both of her wrists and pinned them to the floor slightly above her head.
Callie’s pretty features had been distorted by a scathing fury, her mouth twisted into a loathsome sneer.
A growl rumbled deeply in Jake’s throat as he returned her glare. He remembered this Callie all too well. “Where is she?” he demanded with a scarcely contained anger. When the she-kat underneath him began to laugh at his insistence, he fought to keep his breathing under control.
“Where do you think? She’s with your better half.”
She ignored the pain of her restraints cutting into her wrists as she struggled in vain to free herself of them. The T-Bone that stood before her was amused by her efforts, and her murderous glare didn’t deter the smirk on his face in the least.
“Let me go this instant!” she growled, jerking on her restraints in emphasis.
Dark T-Bone laughed mockingly. “Now why would I do that?”
Callie couldn’t believe it; it was just now hitting her that this T-Bone was not her friend, but rather, her enemy that was threatening everyone and everything she held dear.
“Have you no shame? How can you do this, especially to yourself?”
Dark T-Bone shrugged carelessly. “Shame is overrated. Besides, I’m not doing this to myself; I’m doing for myself. There is a big difference.”
Callie shook her head. “But, you and the T-Bone that lives here are the same! The same person! So, you ARE doing this practically to yourself.”
Dark T-Bone smiled enigmatically. “Hhhmmmm you’re right; we are the same. He came to my dimension that one time and ruined all of my business connections and blew up my jet, so I’m just returning the favor.”
“That’s not what I meant and you know it,” Callie growled.
Dark T-Bone’s mocking laughter was drowned out by the rumbling engine of the cyclotron that shot in through the hidden entry, skidding to stop just feet away from where the big tabby stood. Dark Razor’s mood was noticeably foul as he shut off the cyclotron.
“I knew it!” he spat venomously “I knew we shouldn’t have trusted her or that little gnome.”
T-Bone frowned. “What are you whining about now?”
“They’re screwing us over!” Razor yelled as he walked up to his partner, “They have absolutely no intention of sending us back. They’re probably going to do away with us after we’re done with our alternates.”
Callie’s ears perked up when she heard the name ‘little gnome’. That had to be the Pastmaster.
T-Bone rolled his eyes. “Not this crud again. You’ve been telling me this since we left our dimension.”
“I meant it then just as I do now!”
“You know what? Shut up! I don’t want to hear your paranoia!”
“You idiot! I can’t believe you’re going to trust them over me!”
“He’s got a point you know.” Razor and T-Bone looked over at Callie, both surprised and annoyed with their prisoner’s interruption. “The Pastmaster, he is definitely not one to keep his word, let alone trust. He looks out for himself, everyone else he uses as pawns in his little world domination game. Now regarding my evil alternate self, well, take it from me, I wouldn’t trust her either. “
T-Bone growled at her while Razor glared at her distrustfully. “You just told me that me and this other T-Bone are the same, so how do we not know that you’re just as bad as her, just on the opposing side?”
“Yes, we are the same person, but we’re not of the same personality or mentality for that matter. I’m friends with your alternate and I’m dating his.”
“Exactly! So, why would I listen to anything you say, let alone trust you.”
“So, how does that make you feel? Not being able to trust anyone? It must feel terrible not having anyone…”
“Shut up, you don’t know what you’re talking about!”
“…in your life to look out for you or even care about what happens to you…”
T-Bone snarled in rage as he turned towards her, his paws balled up into quaking fists, and started to storm towards her. “When I say shut up I mean it!”
Before he could even strike her, Razor shot forward, blocking his partner and throwing him back, making him hit the ground hard onto his back.
Callie was shocked, staring at Razor’s back as he stood in front of her defiantly, visibly angered.
T-Bone sat up slowly, giving Razor a death glare that was not to be taken lightly. “The one I don’t trust is you,” he hissed. Razor growled, showing his teeth with a defensive snarl as T-Bone continued, “I’d watch your back because if I catch you going against our plans in any way, getting back home will be the least of your worries.”
Razor and T-Bone shot daggers between them as T-Bone got to his feet and started to back out into the bigger cavern of the cave. Finally, after a tense moment, he had left Razor and Callie alone.
Callie felt a faint glimmer of hope emerge from all of the chaos. Razor had protected her from his own partner, and he was obviously starting to doubt whatever they had planned.
“Thank you,” Callie managed to speak, but wasn’t given any response by Razor. She swallowed, unsure as to how she should approach him. “I can’t even begin to imagine how hard this must be for you…”
She pressed her back all the way against the wall as Razor whirled around to face her, his eyes burning with a hot anger.
“I don’t want your pity!” he spat.
“I’m sorry,” she quickly responded, not wanting him to leave just yet. She looked him in the eyes, searching for some clue as to what he was thinking or how he felt about everything. It was disturbing, how this troubled, angry being before her was an exact clone of her Jake, the same body, same face and same expressive eyes, yet she knew it wasn’t. She didn’t know if the pain and sympathy she was feeling for him was wrong or justified, especially after what he did to her Jake, and what he helped do to the city. Yet, somehow, this sympathy was stronger than the anger.
“Have you dealt with the Pastmaster before, from the dimension you come from?” she asked, trying to make him less defensive, to draw him out.
Razor’s ears were tilted sharply back, as if listening to make sure no one was close enough to hear him and Callie talking. “No. This is the first time we’ve dealt with him.” His voice was low.
Callie nodded. “I meant it when I said he’s not to be trusted. He’s been giving us trouble in this dimension for years.”
“What kind of trouble?”
“He’s been trying to bring back the Dark Ages.” Callie decided the simplest answers were for the best in this conversation.
Razor’s frown grew bigger. “The Dark Ages? Then why is he going through the trouble to get rid of our alternates?”
“Because they’ve always stopped him. He probably figured that the only way to get rid of them was to use their own strengths against them… you two.” Callie couldn’t tell if she had made him mad again or if the look he was giving her was one of wariness.
“They came to our dimension and ruined everything, and left after blowing up our jet.” His response was sharp and bitter.
Callie gulped. This was a very sensitive subject. “I know; Jake told me.”
Razor tried his best not to show that hearing her say his name in such a gentle voice almost made him flinch.
“It really bothered him,” she added quietly.
Razor shook his head and looked away from her. “Does the name Callista sound familiar to you?”
She went with the abrupt topic change. “Yes. Why?”
“That’s who the Pastmaster went to see. He said he had to make sure she didn’t interfere with his plans again.”
It was Callie’s turn to frown. “Great. She’s helped us a lot in the past with him. She’s a sorceress queen from the Dark Ages… my ancestor actually.”
Razor was studying her, which made her somewhat uncomfortable. She wished she could just know what he was thinking. His ears twitched, swiveling forward then back again, still listening intently for T-Bone’s unwanted return. Callie noticed that there appeared to be scars on his ears, jagged, long scars that should of made his ears torn and ragged. She couldn’t help herself. “What happened to your ears?” she asked gently.
His left paw shot up to his left ear, feeling that the substance they had put on it to hold its pieces together was starting to wear off. He slowly turned, to look her directly in the face, unsure whether he should be angry or not. “Nothing.”
“Look,” Callie sighed, “I know you don’t trust me or anybody else right now, and understandably so, but I mean it when I say this. What the Pastmaster is trying to do is not only going to affect this dimension, it’s going to affect every dimension that has us in it. He must be stopped, and I know that my Razor and T-Bone will be more of a help to you alive than dead.”
Razor was silent and still, staring intently into her face. “Can they have this Callista send me back to my dimension?”
“Yes, I’m sure they can.”
Razor’s eyes narrowed, this time in deep thought. “I’ll think about it,” came his firm reply.
Callie nodded, knowing that that was the best answer she was going to get from him.
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