Title: BETWEEN HEAVEN AND HELL
Warnings: Language, eventual implied sex.
Disclaimer: “SWAT Kats: The Radical Squadron,” its characters and concepts are copyright to Hanna-Barbera Cartoons, Inc and are used without permission.
It was another late night a few days later when he climbed the stairs seeking shelter. The priest at the door let him in without a word, that is until he was being led toward the penitent’s quarters.
Another, older priest suddenly stepped from a hidden alcove and blocked his path down the hall.
“I will take care of him, Father Jacob,” the older priest said softly.
Only mildly surprised, Jacob nodded his head and left them.
“I wish to speak with you, sir. Would you be so kind as to follow me?” he asked Feral.
Surprised and nervous, he could tell it really wasn’t a request. Not certain what was going on, he nodded and followed the priest back into the sacristy then through another door at the back.
They went into an office with comfortable furniture. An old oak desk stood under a window, and the priest moved to take a seat behind it while he gestured Feral to sit in one of the chairs in front of it.
Eyeing the kat warily, he waited to see what the old priest wanted with him. The priest studied the imposing kat sitting before him. He recognized him, of course, despite the scruffy clothes.
“Forgive me,” he said quietly. “It was not my intention to overhear what was obviously a private conversation between you and Deputy Mayor Briggs. The choir loft you were sitting in has a peculiar quirk, if you are located below in a confessional, voices from it carries so well it’s as if you were standing beside the speaker. It’s disconcerting, and we tend to avoid using it. Unfortunately, that day a supplicant had insisted on it. I was preparing to leave after they did when your voices came through. I still would have left immediately if what I had heard hadn’t stunned me so badly.” He halted a moment when he saw the flash of fury in those golden eyes. He shuddered inwardly, knowing this was a creature of heaven and hell in the body of a kat.
“I am truly sorry for my lapse in judgment that day. It has haunted me for some time after you both left. I could have said nothing and pretended it never happened, but I could not. My son, you have a mission to perform, I’m certain, in our world. I offer the services of my office to aid you in your cause and would like you to consider this your sanctuary whenever you have need to calm your more inhospitable side,” he hurried on.
Feral stared at him in shocked amazement. He’d been furious to learn that yet another mortal knew what he was, but that had vanished when the priest offered his aid and a place to stay anytime.
“I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t happy that yet another mortal knows of me, but your offer is very generous. Are you sure you know what you are getting yourself in for?” he had to ask.
“No. I only know that you have the side of God within you as well as Hell, and my mission in life is help all who seek it. I understand that you are being pressed hard by this lord of hell and that it weakens your spirit and only here can you get respite. Whatever else I can do for you I will, but, for now, I know I can offer you a place of rest. I intend to assign a room that will be yours anytime so that you will not have to ask. My priests will be told only that you are being given sanctuary. None will question you,” he said quietly.
“It is a very generous offer. What is your name?” Feral said, relaxing in his seat. He felt no deceit from this kat. Yet another kat had been added to the circle Callie said was forming around him.
“I apologize for not having introduced myself; I’m Father Sebastian,” he said, blushing in embarrassment for his oversight.
“I am honored to meet you, Father. Thank you for your offer of sanctuary. It is gratefully accepted,” Feral said politely. “I wish there was something I could offer in return.”
Father Sebastian studied this unique creature a moment. “It seems a little selfish for me to ask this, but I’m also curious about your healing art. I’ve a knee that makes walking and climbing stairs a true torture to accomplish… would you be willing?” he asked, hesitant and humble.
“I don’t think that is selfish at all. You have a calling, and God hasn’t asked you to suffer needlessly to answer it. Please, if you will expose the troubling knee, I will see if I can help ease it for you,” Feral said willingly, pleased he could do something in return for this generous soul.
A little nervous, Father Sebastian pulled his priest’s robe up to expose his swollen right knee. Feral gently pressed his paws on it and, immediately, a glow emanated from them and a warmth spread through his knee. After only a few moments, Feral removed his paws. Father Sebastian was surprised to feel no pain, and his knee was no longer swollen.
He smiled and lowered his robe. “My thanks, my son. It feels wonderful to be pain free once more.”
“You are entirely welcome,” Feral said warmly.
“Please, I know you are very tired and need your rest. Allow me to take you to your room,” he said, getting to his feet, not able to stop the grin of pleasure at the steadiness of his leg for the first time in a year. He led Feral back out into the main chapel then led him away from the penitent’s cells and to another area that looked the same, but there were names on the doors. He realized this was where the single priests lived. Two doors down, Father Sebastian stopped. He unlocked the door and handed the key to Feral. Inside the room was a much more comfortable looking bed, a large old fashioned bureau, a small bedside table with lamp and a small closet.
“Thank you! It’s perfect!” Feral said, very pleased.
“You are most welcome, my son. A good night to you and peaceful rest,” Father Sebastian said warmly and left.
Feral sighed, closing and locking the door. At least one of his worries had been solved. He prepared to get a good nights sleep.
He woke at six a.m. and slipped from his newly assigned room. He noticed the plate said ‘Angel’; he couldn’t help but smile at that. No one but Father Sebastian and he would understand what that meant.
In very good spirits he left the church for his vehicle. It wouldn’t last long.
He’d been at work, digging through the myriad of reports that were piling up due to the increased crime spree. He very nearly wanted to toss the whole mess in Steel’s lap but knew the nitwit would only make a disaster out of it. He was picking up yet another urgent marked folder when alarms went off throughout the building.
Jerking to his feet and rushing out of his office, he went down to the central control room to find out what was going on. As if the small time criminal activity wasn’t bad enough, now the omegas were jumping in.
Hard Drive had set off the alarms as he cruised through their mainframe, not really hanging around but causing havoc just the same as he passed through and disappeared again.
Cursing furiously, the pass through had pulled the computers off line. It would take hours to straighten things out again. Then, the real reason the high tech creep had swept through arrived. A gas cloud swept through the building. No floor was spared. Soon kats were coughing, vomiting, weeping, and gasping as they rushed to leave the building. Feral was coughing violently, barely able to take a decent breath. His hellkat side was terrified and was trying desperately to escape its mortal body. Barely able to see, Feral shoved kats before him out the doors.
In another part of the city…
“Chance, there’s an alarm at Enforcer Headquarters, want to check it out?” Jake asked as he came in from their office into the garage.
“Naw, they probably will have it fixed before we even get off the ground,” Chance grunted as he finished the job he was working on and went to the office to complete the invoice for it.
As they both reentered the office, the police band began announcing a mayday. Reporting the gas attack and requesting assistance from the fire department and medical.
“Okay, that’s a different kind of animal. Come on, buddy, sounds like they could really use our help now,” Chance said grimly, shutting the garage door and locking it. Both he and Jake made for the secret hatch at the back wall of the garage. They were soon dressed and in the air within minutes.
Feral was still struggling to breathe and control his hellion side when he heard a jet’s roar overhead. Since he didn’t think any of his jets had been able to take off he accurately guessed the SWAT Kats were on the scene.
“T-Bone, let’s use my experimental wind missile to try and force the gas out the air filtration system,” Razor said grimly as the tabby took the jet over the beleaguered building.
“Right,” he grunted a response as he put the jet on hover over the huge air exchange system on the roof.
Razor dropped down to the roof by his grappling hook. At the huge machine he pried off the maintenance plate and fired his missile into the wall of the system inside. A huge rush of air went by Razor’s ears as the missile pulled outside air through the ventilation system and forced it down through the building, causing it to pour out windows and doors rapidly.
Razor returned to the jet, and T-Bone took them nearer to the ground to see if they were needed.
“T-Bone, there’s Feral!” Razor shouted urgently.
The tabby dropped the jet lower so that they could see the Commander closer. The big kat was doubled over on his knees and coughing violently.
“Uh! Oh! I don’t like the looks of that. Do you think it will cause the hellkat to erupt?” he asked worriedly as he watched the stricken kat.
“I don’t know, but I don’t think we should wait and find out. Lower the basket and I’ll go get him,” Razor said grimly, already dropping into the cargo bay for the basket.
T-Bone lowered the basket at Razor’s signal. It was soon on the ground and Razor was rushing to Feral’s side.
“Hey, big guy, you need help?” he asked, quickly stooping closer to the kat. Without knowing why, Razor wrapped his arms around Feral’s shuddering body. Almost immediately, the shuddering stopped though the coughing didn’t. Grabbing his oxygen mask, the cinnamon tom placed it over Feral’s face and turned it up high.
Feral clutched at the mask desperately as he drew in the sweet air. His coughing finally eased and his smarting eyes were finally clearing enough to allow him to see the chaos around him. Medical and Fire personnel were everywhere giving aid to the helpless hundreds of enforcers from the building. He saw that no more yellow gas was coming from the building.
He removed the mask cautiously and found he could breathe alright now. “Thank you!” he said to Razor as he handed the mask back to him. “Your work?” he asked, pointing at the building.
“Yeah. Used an experimental wind missile in the ventilation system to clear the gas fast,” Razor said.
“Worked good!” he grunted, pushing himself to his feet with a little help from Razor. “You hugged me, didn’t you?” he realized suddenly when he was able to piece together what had just happened.
“Uh, yeah! Don’t know why I did it either, but it seemed to work to stop your change,” Razor said quietly.
Shaking his head, he muttered, “Oh great, another one who can stop the hellkat.”
Not sure what Feral meant by that, Razor ignored the comment and asked, “What happened here?”
“Hard Drive raced through our computers and left then the gas hit. Don’t know if he was responsible or someone else he was working with was, but it certainly disrupted us for a good length of time. I’m almost afraid to find out what this might have distracted us from,” he said grimly.
“Well, until you guys can get it together, T-Bone and I will have a look around the city for you,” Razor said easily. He didn’t wait for an answer as he jumped back in the basket and signaled it to be raised.
Feral sighed and was actually grateful that the pair was willing to do that. He turned back to the mess his headquarters had become. It was going to be a long day.
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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.