On The Edge
By Jade F. Callan
(For Diana W., with much love, affection, gratitude, and respect. As I said, you are one in a million!)
Harry Snow leaned back against a large oak tree in Megakat Park. It was one of his rare days off, but he wasn’t enjoying it much. The pressures on him had been weighing heavily the past couple of months, and he had taken to wandering aimlessly when not on duty. For some time, nightmares about his former partner, shot by a sniper on the docks, had been haunting his sleep, so he was unable to seek solace even in his own subconscious.
Closing his eyes, Harry felt the sadness in his heart engulf him. When he had gone over to Callie’s the other night for their weekly movie night, she had asked him what was wrong, but he had been unable to tell her. He wasn’t quite sure he knew himself. All he was sure of was that he wanted the pain to stop. With a sigh, he opened his eyes and pushed off of the tree, walking in the direction of City Hall. Harry knew Callie would be off work in a little over an hour, and maybe he could try again to talk to her.
“Be careful, T-Bone,” Razor yelped from the gunner’s seat, “You almost rammed us into that cliff!”
“Easy, bud,” T-Bone growled good-naturedly, “You know, you’ve been jumpy lately. It should be me that’s nervous, not you,” he banked the jet into a lazy arc.
“When’s Felina due again?” Razor asked, his eyes on his targeting scope as a new set of targets popped up from the sand.
“Next week, as close as we can figure,” came the response, “Since we’re not positive when it happened, it’s all guess work,” he brought the jet down close to the ground, and watched for incoming fire.
Drawing a bead on the first target to pop up, razor reached for his controls, “Got everything ready?”
“As ready as possible.”
“Does Feral know yet?” Razor punched the firing button, and two buzz saw missiles dropped out of the bomb bay doors.
“Not that I know of,” feeling the bombs drop, T-Bone steered the jet upwards, watching the practice drones explode.
“Is she ever gonna tell him?”
“Eventually. I think.”
Razor finally looked up from his scope, satisfied the missiles had done their work, “Want to try another pass?”
“Sure, but I thought you had a date with Sami tonight.”
“Not until late. Besides, we still need to try out the new stuff.”
T-Bone brought the jet around for another pass, “Does Sami have anything to do with why you’ve been so jumpy lately?”
“Um, yeah…..I mean no……I mean……just fly, will you!”
T-Bone grinned as he dodged the missiles launched by the drones. He was usually pretty good about not teasing his friend about Sami too much. Sometimes, however, he just couldn’t resist.
“Just for that, I think we might have to stay here longer,” Razor said, waiting for T-Bone to fly around for another pass.
“Then shoot straight, bud!”
“I’m trying. Believe me, I’m trying.”
Somehow, T-Bone knew Razor wasn’t talking about the target practice.
Sami stepped off the elevator and walked quickly down the hall to Felina’s apartment. Technically, since she had finished her patrol, she should have gone back to Enforcer Headquarters, but she couldn’t resist checking on her friend. Stopping in front of Felina’s door, Sami rapped sharply. After a minute, the bolt slid back and the door opened.
“Sami? What are you doing here?” Felina asked, surprise on her face.
“Just thought I’d stop by and see how you’re doing,” Sami replied, stepping into the apartment.
“Huge, that’s how I’m doing,” Felina smiled, closing the door, “I thought you were on duty.”
“Well, Commander Feral did order me to keep an eye on you.”
“Three months ago,” Felina motioned her friend to have a seat on the couch.
“The order was never rescinded,” Sami pointed out as she sat down.
“A technicality. Do you want anything while I’m up? Once I sit down, it can take a while to get up again.”
“I’m fine. For kat’s sake, don’t wait on me, Felina,” Sami scolded, then watched as her friend sank into a recliner to the right of the couch, “Is that chair new?”
Felina nodded, “My uncle bought it for me last week, when he finally forced me to go out on maternity leave.”
“I’m surprised he didn’t have you dragged out kicking and screaming.”
“It almost came to that, actually. I hate just sitting around.”
“How much longer until they are due?” Sami nodded towards Felina’s bulging belly.
“About one more week.”
Sami raised an eyebrow, “I bet it’s sooner than that.”
“I hope so. These two are heavy!”
“Is Chance excited?”
Felina tilted her head in thought, a smile playing on her lips, “I think he’s more excited than he realizes. He calls about four times a day, and he’s here when he can be. In fact,” her eyes twinkled, “I thought you might be him.”
“Sorry to disappoint you.”
“Don’t be silly.”
Sami grinned, “As long as you don’t mind, I’d better turn my radio up. I don’t want to miss a call.”
“That’s the way I trained you,” Felina responded, “Go ahead and put it out on the coffee table if you want. Just promise to tell me what’s been going on while I’ve been out.”
Sami turned her radio up and set it in the middle of the coffee table. In a few moments, the two she-kats were involved in an intense gossip session, both forgetting about the time. The radio crackled softly on occasion in the background.
Callie finished touching up her makeup and tucked her compact back into her purse. Even though it was a little early, she had decided to call it a day. She had, after all, come in before 8am. Besides, for a change, there was nothing else that needed immediate attention. Callie got out of her chair and began to move towards the door when a knock stopped her in her tracks.
“Ms. Briggs?” a security guard called from the other side of the door, “We have a situation here.”
With a sigh, Callie continued to the door and opened it, “What is it?”
“There’s a jumper on the roof, Ma’am.”
“A jumper?” Callie’s eyes widened, “Are you sure? It’s not just one of the maintenance workers doing repairs up there, is it?”
“No, Ma’am. He’s standing on the edge, saying he’s gonna jump. He won’t tell us his name, but he looks kind of familiar.”
“I better go check it out. You call Commander Feral,” Callie instructed as she moved past the guard.
“Yes, Ma’am, right away.”
Snow looked out over the city. His tears blurred his vision slightly, but he didn’t brush them away. He had cried so much in the past few days, he knew they would just come back. He directed his gaze downward, and swallowed hard. Taking a deep breath, he prepared himself to jump.
“Harry, no!!” Callie’s voice came from behind him. He heard her high heels clicking in his direction.
“Stay back,” Harry warned her, glancing over his shoulder.
“Harry……I knew something was wrong,” Callie stopped a few feet away from him, “Please come inside. We can talk about it.”
“I can’t, Callie,” he told her softly, “I just want the hurt to end.”
“I know, Harry, I know. But this isn’t the answer. Trust me.”
Harry smiled sadly, and turned to look down at the street once more. This time, however, he found several Enforcer vehicles parked below, and could even make out the imposing figure of Commander Feral.
“Harry, please….” Callie started forward again, only to stop when confronted with his angry eyes.
“You called Commander Feral?” he demanded.
“Only because I was worried. Please, come inside with me, Harry.”
“Leave me alone,” he snapped, turning away from her once again.
“I said, leave me alone!!”
Callie backed away, entering the stairwell and heading back to her office. Perhaps The SWAT Kats could help her with this. If anything, they could snatch Harry off the roof.
“Sami, did you hear that?” Felina interrupted her friend and drew her attention to the radio, “There’s a jumper on top of City Hall.”
“What?” Sami leaned forward and listened to the transmission. It was short, but did indeed say there was a jumper on the roof of City Hall. Commander Feral had already arrived at the scene.
“Why does all the exciting stuff have to happen while I’m out on leave?” Felina demanded.
Sami smiled at her friend’s distress, “Tell you what, how about I go take a look, and give you a full report? Would that make you happy?”
“No, but I suppose it’s all I got,” Felina replied, “Since you are on duty, you might as well go down there.”
The blonde nodded, and stood up. She retrieved her radio, and clipped it on her belt, “I’ll be back later. You rest.”
Felina rolled her eyes, “What did you think I was going to do, run a marathon?”
Sami laughed as she let herself out. As soon as the door closed behind her friend, Felina took her own radio out of the drawer in the side table and flipped it on. She didn’t want to miss this, even if she was stuck in a recliner.
T-Bone looked back at his partner. Both of them had been deeply disturbed by Callie’s call. Harry had been a good friend to both of them all through basic training. It disturbed them both to think of him trying to take his own life.
“What do you think, T-Bone?” Razor asked in a low voice.
“I’m not sure we could do any good, to tell you the truth,” T-Bone replied.
“We could grab him off the roof.”
“And if we miss? I don’t think this is something for us to try and handle, Razor.”
Razor nodded sadly, “You’re probably right, bud. But I bet I know two old friends of Harry’s who might make a difference.”
“I bet I do too.”
“Then let’s get back to the hanger,” Razor said, “And let Jake and Chance try their paws at helping for a change.”
“You got it.”
“Commander Feral,” Callie called as she exited City Hall, “I know who the jumper is.”
The big kat turned towards her, “Who is it, Ms. Briggs.”
Callie reached him and looked up, unable to stop the tears from welling up in her blue eyes, “It’s Harry Snow.”
“Snow?” Feral’s eyes widened as he recalled the young Enforcer, “Did he tell you why he’s doing this?”
She shook her head, “He said he just wants the pain to stop. I tried to get him to come down, but he refused. I also called The SWAT Kats, but I don’t think they’re coming.”
Feral turned his eyes upward, “Probably not. This is not the type of situation they can deal with. Nothing to destroy.”
“They could grab Harry off the roof,” she pointed out, annoyed slightly at his derisive tone.
“That wouldn’t solve anything. Besides, they might miss,” Feral kept his eyes on the top of the building.
Callie sighed, “So, what are you going to do?”
“I’m going to talk to him, Ms. Briggs. Wish me luck. And do him one favor, if you please. Go deal with the media, before they start snooping around. The last thing we need is Ann Gora getting up there.”
Without another word, Callie and Feral parted company, him heading for the front door of City Hall, she for the knot of reporters off to the right of the building.
Harry felt the wind caress his face, and he tried to focus on the top of the building across the street, but found himself unable to do so. Hugging his arms, he swallowed hard. His head spun, and all he could feel was the pain in his soul.
Looking down, he saw many Enforcers watching him. Even at this height, Harry could pick out a few he knew. In the fading light, the imposing figure of Commander Feral was heading for the front door of City Hall. Please, thought Harry, don’t let the Commander come up here…..Please…..
Sami came around the corner at a fast clip, calling for the civilians to get out of her way. She had been monitoring the radio, but there was still no word on who the jumper was. Finally, she pushed her way to the front of the crowd, only to watch Commander Feral enter City Hall. Setting her jaw, Sami marched up to the front door to question the kat guarding it.
“Paul, what’s going on?” Sami greeted Lynx as she approached.
“Lieutenant,” Lynx nodded to her, standing in her way, “Where do you think you are going?”
“Who’s up there, Paul?”
“I’m under orders not to say.”
“But I’m a fellow Enforcer.”
Lynx shook his head, “I got my orders.”
“What if I could help the kat up there?” Sami raised an eyebrow at him.
He considered her words, then lowered his voice, “It’s true, Harry could use all the friends he’s got right now.”
Her eyes widened, and she too dropped her voice, “Harry Snow?”
Lynx nodded, looking at her sadly, “I knew he was bummed about something, but I never expected this.”
“Me, neither,” Sami swallowed hard, “Did Commander Feral go up to talk him down?”
“Yeah. Hope he can.”
“Me too,” she said, stepping back, “Me, too.”
Commander Feral slowly opened the door to the roof of City Hall, and stepped out. He moved carefully, not wanting to startle the young Enforcer poised to jump. Walking sedately, he stopped about ten feet away from Snow. Before he could speak, the wind carried Snow’s soft greeting to him.
“……I’m sorry, Commander…..”
Feral studied the kat standing on the edge of the roof. Snow looked completely defeated, his shoulders slumped, his arms wrapped around himself. Feral knew he had to tread carefully, “What’s wrong, Snow?”
Harry shook his head, “It…..I didn’t know it would all hurt this much.”
“Being an Enforcer?”
“No…….yes……..I don’t know……..”
“Easy,” Feral tried to sooth him, “Just tell me what’s wrong.”
Harry shook his head, “I want the hurt to stop. It won’t stop…..” he struggled to maintain control, and managed to only let two tears slide down his cheeks.
“This is not the way, Snow. Come down and we’ll get you some help.”
“Sure you can.”
Feral could see Snow was getting agitated, “Listen, just think about something for me. All the kittens who look up to The Enforcers…….what kind of example would you be setting if you jumped?”
“No one would care.”
“Look down there,” Feral said as he turned to go, “Does it look like they don’t care?”
The scene below blurred in front of his eyes as Harry could no longer hold back his tears.
Sami stood at the edge of the Enforcer barrier, looking up at the lonely figure of Harry Snow. He looked so alone, she felt sadness well up inside her at the thought of his hurting that much. She closed her eyes, and took a deep breath.
“Easy, babe,” Jake’s soft voice came from behind her.
She opened her eyes and whirled around to find Jake and Chance on the other side of the barrier. Quickly, she moved over to them, reaching for Jake’s paws, “What are you two doing here?”
“We came to see if we could help Harry,” Jake told her, grasping her paws gently.
“How did you know it was Harry up there?”
“Ah…….must have heard it somewhere,” Chance put in quickly.
Sami nodded, too upset to notice their urease, “You guys were in basic training with Harry, right?”
“Yeah,” Jake replied, “And we want to try and help him. Think Commander Feral would let us go up and try?”
“Well,” Sami looked back at the front door of City Hall just in time to see Feral emerge, “I can ask. C’mon.”
the three approached Commander Feral as he reached the bottom step, and Sami saw the big kat was troubled. With a hard swallow, she finally spoke, “Commander?”
Feral turned sad eyes on her, “Yes, Lieutenant?”
“Would you mind if we tried?” she gestured to Jake and Chance.
Feral swept his eyes over the two mechanics, “How do you two fit into this?”
“We knew Snow in basic, Commander,” Jake replied.
Feral seemed to size both of them up, then slowly nodded, “But be careful. He’s in a highly agitated state.”
“We’ll be careful, Commander,” Sami promised as she turned and led the two tomkats towards City Hall.
Feral watched them go, hoping they could at least buy some time. He brought out his radio, and switched it to his private frequency, “Janine?”
“Yes, Sir?” her voice came through the static.
“I want you to get me a psychiatrist down here,” he spoke carefully, “Her name is Adara Feral.”
“Your ex-wife?” Janine blurted out before she could stop herself.
“Yes, Janine. And tell her to hurry.”
While still waiting for any indication as to the identity of the jumper was, Felina found herself fidgeting with whatever she could lay her paws on. The radio was very quiet, especially considering there was an emergency situation going on. She was about to turn on the TV and see what the local news had to say on the situation when the radio crackled to life. Although the transmission was short, she was able to glean that the jumper was a fellow Enforcer. Snapping the radio off, Felina hauled herself out of the chair and grabbed her jacket. Pregnant or not, she had to at least try to help.
The door behind him opened once again, and Harry sighed. He did not have the will to even glance back and see who it was. He stared down at the pavement below, waiting for whomever it was to speak.
“Harry?” Sami whispered. Jake and Chance hung back, letting her go first, “Oh, Harry…..”
“Go away, Sami,” Harry answered softly, “Don’t let my blackness infect you. You are so sweet…..”
“Harry, this isn’t the answer. Please. Come down. Let’s talk.”
“There is nothing more to say. I have to stop the pain. I can’t live with it anymore.”
“Just come down, Harry, and we will talk.”
Sami saw his shoulders slump, and realized she was not reaching him. In anguish, she turned and looked at Jake, her eyes pleading with him to help. Jake reached out the drew her into his arms, then looked back at Chance. The big kat signalled his partner to just wait a moment, while he thought about what to say.
“Commander?” Janine’s voice broke into Feral’s thoughts as she stood looking up at Snow, “I, um, the psychiatrist is here.”
Feral turned reluctantly, and he first nodded to Janine, then moved his eyes to the she-kat standing next to her.
“Hello, Ulysses. It’s been a long time,” Adara Feral purred, smiling ever so slightly.
“Not long enough, Adara,” he observed. She had, if possible, grown even more beautiful since he had last seen her, “But now is not the time to discuss that.”
“I suppose not. I understand you have a jumper on your paws. Want to fill me in?”
Feral swallowed hard, “He’s one of the foot patrol kats. His partner was shot by a sniper right in front of him a few months ago. And I know he felt responsible for a recent hostage situation. But I had no idea it had gotten this far.”
“I’m not surprised. The Enforcers aren’t known for their compassion. Especially their Commander.”
“Adara,” Feral’s voice dropped low, “Are you here to help, or to shred me?”
“To help, of course,” she answered lightly.
“There are three friends of his up on the roof with him now. Perhaps they can bring him down.”
“Then I’ll take a moment to read his file,” Adara held out her paw, and Feral placed a folder in it. She then moved off, walking in the directions of the front door of City Hall. Feral watched her go, his face unreadable.
“Um, Ulys…….Sir? Are you all right?” Janine asked, biting her lip.
“What?” Feral looked surprised to see her there, “I won’t be all right, Janine, until we get Snow down. And I’m sorry you had to see Adara and I sink our claws into each other.”
“I’m more concerned about you. And Harry.”
“We have to get him down, Janine. We have to. I lose enough Enforcers to fighting crime. I won’t lose one like this. I can’t.”
Instead of answering her, Feral returned his eyes to the solitary figure on the ledge above.
“Hey, Snowy,” Chance’s low voice carried through the semidarkness. The shadows were lengthening, but he knew The Enforcers would soon switch on those damn floodlights they were so fond of. And that wouldn’t do much for Snow.
“Hey, Chance,” Harry returned, “Fancy meeting you here.”
“Yeah. I brought Jake with me, too,” Chance moved a little closer to harry, “We thought you could use a friend or two.”
“We’re here for you, Snow,” Jake added, “Now, why don’t you tell us what’s wrong?”
Harry closed his eyes and shuddered, “I keep telling you, and you don’t seem to get it. I want the pain to stop.”
“Pain is part of life, Snow,” Chance said gently, “And, sometimes, it can get to be too much. So share it with us, buddy. That’s what friends are for.”
“I can’t. I just can’t,” Harry felt himself grow cold inside, “You don’t understand.”
“Explain it to us, then,” Jake told him, the coldness in Harry’s voice scaring him.
“No. Just let me die.”
“No, Harry! We can’t do that!” Sami cried out, running forward. Jake just managed to grab her around the waist, stopping her from rushing Harry.
“Why don’t you three step back, and let me handle this,” came a clipped voice from behind them, “I’m a professional, after all.”
Jake, Chance, and Sami turned to see a tall blonde she-kat approaching. She seemed to look at them down her nose somewhat.
“And who, may I ask, are you?” Jake questioned, still maintaining his grip on Sami.
“Doctor Adara Feral. I’m a psychiatrist.”
“Just what we need. A Feral,” Chance groaned.
“An ex-Feral, actually. Now, if you don’t mind,” Adara moved around the trio, and stood near Harry, who was once again hugging himself tightly, “Now, Harry, why don’t we talk, you and I?”
“I have nothing to say.”
“Come now, Harry, of course you do,” Adara said brightly, “Tell me about your family.”
“Leave me alone.”
Jake released Sami, and tensed to rush forward. He sensed that this doctor was only serving to upset Harry more, and he wanted to be ready to leap forward to stop Harry from going over the edge of the roof.
“I can’t do that, Harry. Commander Feral asked me to come up here especially to talk to you.”
“Because he cares about you, Harry. Like your family does.”
“You know nothing about it,” Harry snapped, turning angry eyes on her, “Nothing at all! Leave me alone! Let me die!”
“Now, Harry…..” Adara began, but trailed off as Chance grabbed her by the shoulders and Jake grasped her wrists. Before she knew what happened, the two had hustled her back into the stairwell, leaving Sami alone with Harry.
Standing on the edge of the crowd, huddled in her Enforcer jacket, Felina finally raised her eyes to the top of City Hall. The street lights made enough of a glare to reveal the lone kat poised to jump. She felt her heart lurch, and her kittens moved within her, as if in reaction to the sight. As soon as she could look away, Felina carefully made her way over to the Enforcer barrier, and tried to get closer.
“Sorry, no civilians beyond this point,” Officer Brown told her curtly.
“I’d suggest you look again,” Felina replied, turning so the insignia on her jacket was apparent.
“You are on maternity leave, Lieutenant,” Brown pointed out.
“I still outrank you,” Felina returned.
“The Commander would have my tail if I let you across this line.”
“Consider it an order from a superior officer, then,” Felina told him, stepping around him and approaching the line of Enforcer vehicles parked by the curb. Brown thought about stopping her, but then fell back. How much trouble could a pregnant she-kat cause, anyway.
“Harry, just calm down,” Sami tried to sooth her friend.
“Get out of here, Sami,” Harry’s cold voice answered her, “Leave me alone.”
“Promise me you won’t do anything crazy?”
“I don’t know what crazy is anymore.”
“Go away,” He turned his back to her once more.
Sensing his distance, Sami withdrew, heading for the stairwell, the taste of defeat bitter in her mouth.
Spying her uncle, Felina was just about to go over to him when a commotion at the front door of City Hall caught her attention. To her, and everyone elses’, amazement, Jake and Chance came out of the door practically carrying her uncle’s ex-wife, who was loudly voicing her objections to such treatment. As the two carried Adara over to Feral, Felina saw a very shaken Sami also exit City Hall.
“Take your paws off me!” Adara screeched as Jake and Chance set her down in front of Feral.
“What happened?” Feral demanded, too worried about his officer in danger to care about Adara’s distress.
“She agitated Harry, Commander,” Sami said quietly, coming up behind Adara.
“What? Who was doing the agitating?” Adara put in, “I have half a mind to just leave, and let you handle this yourself, Ulysses.”
“I doubt it,” he answered her.
“That you have half a mind.”
Having heard those two argue quite enough times in her life, and realizing Sami was probably referring to harry Snow, Felina carefully moved around the line of vehicles and approached Paul Lynx at the door to City Hall.
“Lieutenant Feral, what are you doing here?” Lynx asked, wide-eyed.
“Trying to help. Let me go up, Lynx. It’s the least I can do after what you and Harry did for me when I was in jail.”
“How did you know it’s Snow up there?”
“Sami said something about poor Harry. And you just confirmed it,” Felina smiled faintly at him, “Please, let me try to help, Paul.”
Without another word, Lynx moved aside and let her pass. Neither of them noticed, however, that Sami had turned to see Felina enter City Hall.
“Um, Commander,” Sami said to Feral as he watched Adara storm off, “There’s something you should know.”
“What is it, Higgins?” Feral looked at her impatiently.
“Lieutenant Feral just went up to talk to Snow.”
“Felina? How the hell did she get into this?” Feral growled. Then slowly, his mood softened just a bit, “Actually, she may be the best one for the job.”
“I was thinking the same thing, Sir,” Sami told him, while Jake and Chance silently added their own votes of confidence in Felina.
Felina stepped carefully out onto the roof of City Hall. Darkness had finally claimed the area, but she could see Harry against the bright lights shining on the building from below. Listening closely, she detected a faint sobbing coming from him.
“What now?” Harry asked, fighting his sobs.
“It’s just me, Harry. Felina Feral.”
“Lieutenant Feral?” he turned slightly, glancing back at her, “But you’re out on leave.”
“Which is why you can call me Felina,” she moved a little closer to him, but stopped far enough away so he wouldn’t feel threatened, “Now, Harry, what’s wrong?”
Smiling faintly, Harry answered with a question of his own, “Aren’t you going to tell me to come down first?”
“No. You are fine where you are. I just want to know why you feel the need to stand there.”
Harry stood still for several minutes, contemplating her words. As he pondered, Felina moved forward and to the side of him, leaning back against the ledge. She was still far enough away not to spook him, but he could see her far easier now.
“I…….don’t know, Lieutenant. It’s just all so….empty. So black. Watching my partner die, seeing those hostages when I could have prevented it……It just hurts, you know?”
“I know, Harry, I know. And you can call me Felina.”
“Harry, none of what happened was your fault.”
“If I had been a better Enforcer……”
Felina shook her head, “No, Harry. What happened to your partner is in a way my fault, but in no way yours.”
“Yes. That sniper was trying to draw me out. I was the main target.”
Harry nodded, but did not move. Felina knew she would have to try harder to convince him not to jump.
“Those hostages were taken because I didn’t catch that guy prowling around outside the jewelry store the night before.”
“You don’t know that, Harry,” Felina told him gently, “Besides, you wouldn’t have been able to hold him long in jail just based on a suspicion.”
“It would have made a difference.”
“It might have. Or it might have only served to make him more violent in his methods. You don’t know what would have happened, Harry, and you can’t destroy yourself based on speculation.”
“I’m tired of the pain, Felina,” he whispered, “So very tired. I want it to stop. Now,” his shoulders shook as silent sobs wracked his body.
“I know, Harry. I wish I could promise you it would,” Felina could feel tears welling up in her own eyes, and blinked them away, “But you can’t give up. Think what would have happened if I had given up.”
“You?” Harry managed to ask between sobs.
“Yes, Harry. I’ve had my share of pain and loneliness. Sometimes more than my share. But, if I had given up, I never would have met Chance, or known the joy of having my own kittens.”
Too late, Felina realized what she had said, but knew she couldn’t take it back now, “Chance Furlong. He has made all the difference in the world. My sadness is now less, my worries shared, and my happiness more than doubled. And, Harry, I know such a kat is out there for you. Please don’t leave this life before you find her. And, please, don’t take my friend away from me. I’d miss you so much.”
Felina could hear the ragged sobs Harry could no longer control, and she watched him silently, knowing the war raging within him. She waited, and, after a couple of minutes, saw Harry stretch out a paw towards her. Stepping forward and grasping it, she carefully helped him down from the edge of the rood, and hugged him gently as he cried.
“Commander…..” Sami said softly, her gaze on the now empty ledge.
“I see it, Higgins, I see it,” Feral answered quietly, relief flooding his voice, “She got him down.”
Jake placed his paws on Sami’s shoulders, and she turned around and moved into his arms, almost falling over in relief.
“Easy, babe,” Jake whispered in her ear, “It’s okay now. Felina’s got him. He’s safe.”
Chance leaned back against one of the nearby Enforcer vehicles, unable to stand upright any longer. It had scared him to be facing an enemy he could not shoot or punch.
Feral moved his gaze to the front door of City Hall and, in a few minutes, was rewarded by the sight of Felina and Snow emerging. His niece was supporting the young enforcer, and Feral was concerned for both of them. Ordering everyone back, he made his way to the pair.
“It’s OK, Uncle,” Felina told him, “Harry just needs a bit of rest. And someone to talk to.”
“I know,” Feral nodded at her, “And his job will still be waiting for him. Now, let’s get him to the hospital,” he gestured towards a waiting ambulance.
“Harry,” Felina whispered in his ear, “I want you to go to the hospital, OK? For me?”
Harry nodded, and meekly walked over and let himself be put inside the emergency vehicle. As it took off, Feral turned to his niece, his eyes showing his immense gratitude.
“It’s OK, Uncle,” Felina anticipated his words, “It was the least I could do.”
“That doesn’t stop me from thanking you, Felina. Or from being damn proud of you.”
“Anytime, Uncle. Are you going to go to the hospital?”
“Yes, a little later. Not just to check on Snow, but to protect him from the media as well,” Feral replied, “He’s been through enough today. And you had better go straight home.”
“I’ll have Sami take me,” Felina said, smiling, “Now, please, go see to Harry.”
Feral placed his paws on her shoulders, and gave them a gentle squeeze, before turning and heading for his car. After he had gone, Felina made her way over to Chance, Jake, and Sami.
“How’d you get him down, Felina?” Sami asked, stepping out of Jake’s embrace to greet her friend.
“I left the decision up to him,” Felina explained.
“Um, Felina,” Chance moved closer to her, “Why are you so pale?”
“Probably because I’ve been in labor for the past fifteen minutes,” she answered him calmly.
After about ten seconds, the full impact of her words hit the three others simultaneously.
“Ah, do you three think we can go to the hospital now?” Felina smiled.
In answer, Sami snatched a set of keys from the nearest patrol kat, and the four of them piled in the nearest vehicle, Chance and Felina in the back seat, Sami driving, and Jake riding shotgun.
“Move, Sami!” Jake yelped, starting to sweat.
“I am! I am!” she informed him, firing up the engine and tearing out of the area, almost taking the Enforcer barriers along with them.
Janine was just clearing off the top of her desk when Paul Lynx walked in. She gave him an inquiring look, wondering what the young Enforcer wanted at this hour.
“Is Commander Feral in?” Lynx asked.
She could hear the anguish in the officer’s voice, “Yes, but, unless this is an emergency, he’s asked not to be disturbed.”
“I think this could be considered an emergency.”
“What is it?”
“Ah,” Lynx swallowed hard, “We’d all like to know how Harry Snow is doing…..please.”
Janine heard him sigh softly, and had just decided to consider this an emergency, when a deep voice came from the office doorway.
“He’s at the hospital, and the prognosis is good,” Feral informed them both.
Lynx looked over and saluted, “Thank you, Sir. I…….we really appreciate it.”
“Don’t thank me,” Feral grumbled back, “Thank my niece.”
Lynx turned on his heel and left, and Feral looked over at Janine.
“Any new orders, Sir?” Janine asked.
“No. I’m going home. And you should, too. We’ve all had a …….” Feral trailed off as the phone rang.
Janine answered the phone, “Enforcer Headquarters, Commander Feral’s office.”
Feral leaned against the door frame, waiting to see if the call merited his attention.
“Yes…….I see…….when?……….any time now?……….yes, I’ll tell him……. Thank you, Lieutenant Higgins,” she hung up the phone and turned to Feral with a smile.
“Your niece is in labor,” Janine told him, her smile widening.
“What? Now? But she’s not due for another week!” Feral sputtered.
“I think the kittens had their own ideas,” Janine laughed.
“Let’s go, then,” Feral dug his car keys out of his pocket.
“Yes, you. Don’t you think I want you with me for this?”
Without another word, Janine got out her purse and rose to follow him out the door.
Jake tossed aside the newspaper he had been unable to concentrate on when Sami returned to the waiting area, “Is Feral on the way?”
She nodded, and sat down next to him, “I’m sure he’ll be here soon.”
“Hell of a way for him to find out about Chance.”
“It might be the best way, actually,” Sami mused.
“Well, when he sees Chance, Felina, and the kittens together…..”
“I see your point,” Jake conceded, “But I still think it’ll come as a hell of a shock.”
“How long does this take? They’ve been in there forever.”
Sami smiled, “Who knows? It’s only been three hours, Jake. But we can go get some sleep if you want. I’m sure Chance and Felina won’t mind.”
“What if I have something to show you first?” Chance inquired from the door of the waiting room.
“You mean…….?” Jake rose to his feet at the sight of his partner.
“Come and see,” Chance beckoned them both.
Sami got up, and they followed Chance down the hall to Felina’s room. When the entered, they found her sitting up in bed, with a kitten tucked in the crook of each arm.
“Wow, that was fast,” Jake observed, coming around to the right side of the bed and smiling at Felina.
“A moment ago, he was wondering what was taking so long,” Sami giggled, moving to the left side of the bed as Chance stood at the foot, “So, let’s see the new arrivals.”
Felina smiled, and tilted her arms so the kittens could be seen, “They got here about a half an hour after we arrived,” she told them, “All the time was taken up with paperwork.”
“And who is this we are meeting?” Jake asked, smiling at the tiny bundle in front of him.
“That’s Theora Faria Feral Furlong,” Chance told his friend proudly, “Ain’t she a beauty?”
“Only because she looks like her mother,” Jake countered, smoothing little Theora’s cheek with a finger. Like her brother, she had Felina’s tawny fur, but Jake could detect faint tiger stripes too.
“And who is this fine fellow?” Sami wondered, looking down at the other kitten.
“That is Stephen Jake Feral Furlong,” Felina responded, “My beautiful son.”
“What do you think the S stands for in Ulysses S. Feral?”
“You mean, Chance let you name him after Commander Feral?” Jake was incredulous.
“Chance named him,” Felina replied calmly.
“Now, that is amazing,” Feral’s low voice came from behind Chance. Everyone looked up at the big kat.
“Only to you, Ulysses,” Janine said softly from his left.
Chance swallowed hard, then turned to face Feral, “So, now you know. Going to ship me off to Alkat-Traz for daring to touch your niece?”
Feral raised his eyebrows, “It I was going to do that, I would have done so when I first found out.”
“You mean, you knew?” Felina held her kittens close.
“Since you were in jail, and I had your bracelet dusted for prints,” Feral explained, “Standard procedure. You should know that, Felina.”
“But……..why didn’t you say anything, Uncle?”
“Because, for the first time in your life, Felina, you were truly happy. And it wasn’t my place to tell you, but for you to tell me.”
“I’m sorry, Uncle. I was…….”
“Afraid of losing it all?” Feral finished for her.
Sami gave Jake a meaningful look, and the two of them slipped out of the room, and headed for the parking lot.
“Felina, would you and your uncle like to talk in private?” Chance offered, although his voice was wary.
“No, Chance. No more secrets.”
“Besides, there is nothing more to discuss,” Feral added, “You make your own decisions, Felina. You are not a kitten anymore.”
Finally, Felina smiled at him, her eyes sparkling, “I know, Uncle. Now, would you like to hold your namesake?”
“Only if it is all right with his father.”
“Anytime, Commander,” Chance said, emotion in his voice.
As Feral came around to scoop up little Stephen, he had one more question for his niece, “When are you two going to get married? Kittens need two parents, you know.”
Jake lay quietly next to Sami, listening to her steady breathing. By the time they had gotten back to her apartment, she was so tired she could hardly keep her eyes open. Jake had offered to leave, but Sami had wanted him to stay. Seeing the lost look in her eyes, he knew she needed him.
Neither one had felt like eating, and so they had simply shed their clothes and fallen into bed, Jake holding Sami for the few moments it had taken her to drift off. He couldn’t sleep, however. The memory of Harry Snow’s haunted eyes kept coming back to him. He shuddered, remembering the despair he had seen in those eyes. He never wanted to see that look again, on anyone. Carefully, so not to disturb her, he curled around Sami, holding her close against him. He ached to keep her safe and happy, and swore to do all in his power to make her so.
Felina lay on her side, listening to the soft breathing of her kittens in the bassinet next to her bed. She marvelled at the fact she was still awake, but for some reason she wasn’t sleepy. Chance, her uncle, and Janine had left about an hour ago, all promising to come back in the morning, bringing Tony and Phineas with them. Felina smiled at the thought of all of them in the same room. She had just reached out a paw to touch her kittens once again when there was a soft rap at the door.
“Come in,” Felina called softly, mindful of her sleeping kittens.
Slowly the door to her room opened, and Harry Snow came in, “Um, hi, Lieutenant.”
“Harry?” Felina’s eyes widened at the sight of him, and she noted her was fully dressed, “What are you doing here?”
“I…..I can leave, if you want…..”
“No, that’s not what I meant. I just thought you’d….uh, be staying here for a while.”
Harry shook his head, “No, I’m on an outpatient basis, as long as I stay with someone. My sister’s going to stay at my place for the next week.”
“I’m glad. And I’m glad you came off that ledge, Harry. Else you would never have gotten to see Theora and Stephen,” she gestured to the bassinet.
Walking over, Harry peered at the kittens, “Oh, Lieutenant, they are beautiful.”
“You can hold them, if you would like.”
“I’m sure they won’t mind, Harry.”
After a slight hesitation, Harry leaned over and gently picked up Theora’s tiny sleeping form. Cradling her, careful to support her head, he brought her up and rested her against his chest, looking down in wonder.
Felina watched him silently, hoping her tiny daughter could somehow shine a little light into the dark corners of Harry’s troubled soul.
“She’s so beautiful, Lieutenant,” he whispered, his eyes focused on Theora.
“I know. Aren’t you glad you got to meet her?”
Harry said nothing, simply held the kitten for a few minutes more, then gently put her back in her bassinet. He also took a moment to touch Stephen, then turned to go. At the door, however, he stopped, and looked back once more.
“Thank you, Felina…….so very much.”
“Anytime, Harry. Anytime.”
Silently, he slipped from the room, and Felina wiped away the tears on her cheek with the back of her paw.
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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.