Original SWAT Kats Story

Séraphime

By Starcat

  • 1 Chapter
  • 12,248 Words

(Unfinished) Who is she? Will she ever stop whining? Rated M for content.

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There was a long, mellow, but high-pitched whining noise, and it was really starting to anger me. My head already ached; I didn’t know why. I searched my thoughts for an explanation and then realised-

I couldn’t remember anything at all.

My eyes flew open, stinging in the cold night air. They teared up and my already blurry surroundings became wavery under the pools of my tears. Slowly but surely, each one of the senses I didn’t even realise I had lost came back to me. The air smelled foul and musty. The ground beneath me, under my stomach and my cheek, was cold, hard, and slimy. My entire body ached, my shoulder blades stung.

Who am I, who am I? How in the world did I get here? What happened to me?

I got up then, pulling myself painfully to my feet. My ankle and knee joints ached like I had jumped really far and landed on my feet. Pulling myself with my arms thrust my shoulder blades together, and I had to hiss loudly through my teeth to stifle a scream.

I looked down at myself, wavering on my footpaws. I was dressed in a white robe, dirty and stained from the garbage scattered in the alley I found I was in. I looked over my arms; they were scratched and bloody. But, there was something else wrong, too. I studied my chocolate brown fur. There was something wrong, I couldn’t put my finger on it.

I staggered out of the alleyway and into the street. To my right was a great source of blue and white light. I focused my eyes, or tried to. It didn’t work, so I got closer, looking at the sign. Somehow I knew it said, “MegaKat City Hospital” on it. I walked toward the building, and accidentally bumped into someone walking down the road.

“Oh, sorry,” I replied automatically.

The person, a tall, dark-furred tomkat, took one look at me and stopped.  “Are you alright?” he asked, stooping down to look into my probably unfocused eyes.

I shook my head, wanting to cry. “I-I can’t remember…” I trailed off, the long whine filling my head again. I clutched my hair and bent over.

“Come with me,” the tomkat said.

I tried to stand and push the sound from my head, but was still swaying. So, the tom picked me up into his arms and took me through the hospital doors.

“Steve!” called a security guard at the emergency room entrance. I could see why the guard was needed; the ER waiting room was packed with the worst looking people; druggies, drunks, hypochondriacs, psychos. My heart went out to each of them.

“What are you doing bringing another one in? We already have enough streeters in here.”

“This one’s different.” Steve replied, pushing around a couple rowdy kittens and heading into the ER.

“Steve!” a doctor barked from over a patient. The patient was bleeding profusely. “We have too many already!”

“She’s bleeding badly,” Steve replied.

I am? I thought.

Steve set me down on the only empty bed and the yelling doctor came over, removing his gloves and running out to rinse up quickly. He came back and Steve filled him in a bit, but I fell out of consciousness before he could finish his first sentence.

When I woke up again, the pain was still there but very dull and lingering. My back burned still. There were a couple machines around me, and tubes up my nose.

How long have I been asleep? I wondered. Outside the window it was light. I sat there and tried to remember something, anything. I was like that, desperate for at least half an hour, when a nurse walked in.

“Well, well.” She smiled. “Morning, sleeping beauty.”

“Whe…H-how long have I been-?”

“You’ve been awake and asleep and awake and asleep for at least four days.”

Four days! That would make it Tuesday. But, how would I know that?

When I looked up again, the nurse was gone. I looked out the window, trying to focus on a tree. I couldn’t.

The door opened and I looked back. The doctor came in with the nurse. I was disappointed to see Steve wasn’t there.

“Well, well, Miss Dubris. Im glad to see you about.”

“Dubris? Is that my name?”

The doctor looked down solemnly. “I thought there might be some brain damage.” He looked back up. “Yes. Your name is Géraldine Dubris. You fell from a hospital window. You were here because you had been beaten and raped.”

I opened my eyes wide. “I don’t remember any of that.”

“Not a thing?”

“No.”

The doctor wrote something down, then stepped to the side of the bed, checking the monitors.

“Any problems?”

“Yeah. I can’t see straight. I can’t focus,” I replied.

He pulled a flashlight out of his pocket and shined it in each of my eyes. He nodded, then said, “I believe it might have said something on your chart about glasses.”

“Doctor?”

“Yes?”

“Do I have any friends, any family?”

He pursed his lips, pausing, then said. “No, I’m afraid not. You were picked up on the street.”

Tears welled in my eyes. Homeless?

The nurse entered with some clothes that I supposed were mine: A blue blouse and jeans and also a pair of sneakers. None were in bad condition, really. She set beside them a small, beat-up duffel bag, too.

“There. Now you get dressed  and I’ll be back to wheel you out.” She smiled kindly, a smile of caring, and of pity. But, she couldn’t take any street urchin that came her way. She knew this, and she felt bad, but she had made up her mind long ago, it was evident on her face. She smiled again, then turned away, moving out swiftly. The doctor turned off my machines and removed the tubes from my nose. It smarted a bit, and I sneezed twice. Then, the doctor left, too.

I sat up and looked through the clothes. Luckily, I had a few necessities such as underwear and socks. I pulled my outfit on, tucking in the shirt loosely. I left the socks off, because they looked funny with the highwater effect the pants had. They obviously weren’t my clothes, but I knew it was the best I could get. And, also that I better split before the nurse came back. Instinct, I suppose.

I looked out the door. Quite a ways down the corridor, I could barely make out the outline of my nurse. As a crowd of surgeons passed with a stretcher, I slipped into an elevator. I reached bottom floor and rushed through the ER and out of the ER doors. The security guard was busy making sure a delirious drunkard wasn’t getting in, and I slipped out the front door. Lucky for me the city never sleeps, not day, not night.

Once out and safely down the block, my sweat made my wounds sting. I caught my breath leaning against a wall and looked through the duffel bag. There was, to my surprise, an old wallet. In the wallet was a driver’s license, and about twenty dollars, a few notes in alien handwriting. I’d never seen my handwriting, but I didn’t think that was it.

I examined the ID picture. The woman had chocolate brown fur, long, straight black hair, and boring brown eyes, wearing round, wire rim glasses. She had a pointy chin and high cheekbones, and her eyes were slightly squinty.

Wow, I thought, looking in the store window next to me. It is me. The reflection was precise.

As my gaze shifted, I saw a help wanted sign. I had to lean over and squint to read it. The rain had lightened the type, but I made out it was an add for a movie theatre. I couldn’t make out the small address, and it occurred to me I may have glasses in my bag. I looked, and found two pair. I chose a more square framed pair over the oval ones. It made me look better, I thought. I looked at the address, and walked that way.

I followed the manager of the theatre upstairs, past the projector rooms, and into a small office. The interview commenced. No, I didn’t have any previous experience, not that I knew of. No, no college. I don’t even know what high school I went to!

“Do you have any ID, at least?”

I dug out the wallet and handed him the card. He looked at it, at me, at the card again.

“This doesn’t look like you.”

I dug in my bag again and put on the oval frames. He frowned.

“Your cheeks are softer, you face is an entirely different shape. And, your hair is shinier.”

“I…well…I-”

“Look, I’ll overlook this little…conflict if you do me a favour.”

I didn’t like his smile.

I didn’t like him in bed either. He was rough, over confident, didn’t care about me at all. I didn’t know if I had had any previous experience or not, but Roger commented he didn’t think I had. It hurt like hell when we started, and he said he thought I was a virgin.

If I had been raped, would it be like that?

At any rate, I got the bloody job.

My job was the concession stand. Popcorn, candy, the whole lot. I didn’t make much money, but Roger, since I was sleeping with him, took me in.

I had gotten lonely, and having Roger filled a bit of that hole. The disappointment of my plain looks had really discouraged me; I knew he was the best I could get. He was just as plain as I, with light brown fur and dull brown eyes and hair. So, even though I knew he was sleeping with my prettier, blonder co-workers, I valued his company.

Beside that, he bought me things. He didn’t want me to live with him, but moved me into an apartment. It wasn’t just mine, I had a roommate as well. But, Roger paid my small rent.

So, a couple weeks later, I had finally settled into my new life. The doubt about my past was always there, but I figured it was just that: my past. Now is now. Things were going okay now, certainly better than being homeless.

A group of four kats walked up to my register: a short, brown furred tom arm-in-arm with who I had come to know as the deputy mayor. Beside him was a tall, peach-furred she-kat with light auburn hair, who was positively hanging off of one of the most beautiful kats I had ever seen. He was blonde with yellow fur, tawny stripes. His chest and shoulders were broad; he was tall with well-muscled arms, and maybe just a little extra weight. But, his eyes, as he leaned over the counter, I saw were a beautiful bright emerald green with flecks of yellow and a ring of blue around the edge of the iris. He smiled, a beautiful, bright grin, very kind and loving.

“Hey,” he said. His voice was deep and gruff, but friendly.

The breath was struck from me.

“H-hi,” I replied stupidly.

He raised an eyebrow. “Could I get some popcorn?”

I shook my head, shaking the thoughts away. “Yeah.” I walked back and fumbled with the bags and such, but luckily he was paying attention to the other tom and his date, laughing heartily. Even his laugh made me melt. I’d love to hear his purr…  He looked back at me for a second, and it took me almost a minute to realise I was staring. He looked a little amused at it.  Of course he would, I thought. You’re a mousie, plain little four-eyed shekat.

I looked down and brought the popcorn. The others gave me their orders, and when I rang up the total, the blonde tabby handed me the money, and our hands actually touched! I could swear I felt a shock of electricity. Maybe it was only static.  I watched him walk into the theatre, laughing that laugh again. I sighed, staring at the cinema door.

“Hello?” Someone snapped their fingers in my face lightly.

I looked up and saw a tall tabby with peach fur and blonde hair, with light, playful brown eyes. He looked familiar, and pretty cute too.

“Uh, can I help you?” I was still a little distracted.

“Don’t you recognise me?”

“I…uh…”

“I suppose you might not.” He extended a large, thin fingered paw. “Steve Burmese.”

“Are you-”

“The one who brought you into the hospital? Yeah.”

“How did you find me?”

“I did a little asking around, found out you worked at a theatre. Came to see how you were doing.”

It made me uneasy that someone who knew about my hospital stay was still around.  They might find out I’m not really Géraldine, I thought.

I smiled weakly, nodding my thanks. “I appreciate it.” I busied myself by wiping down the already spotless counter and register.

“I heard you got a place of your own, too. Sounds like you’ve really come along from where you were.”

“Oh…yeah.”

Suddenly, he reached out and placed a paw on mine, stopping my wiping.

“Have dinner with me,” he said. “I want to know more about you.”

“I-I…” I looked into his eyes. They were a beautiful light brown with green and red flecks, and they were pleading with me pleasantly.

“I can’t,” I said finally.

Steve nodded, his light blonde hair bouncing into his eyes. He pushed it back.

“I understand. But, if you change your mind…” He took a card from his back pocket. It was slightly warm and curved to the shape of his tail-end, which I found slightly amusing.  “Call me.” He looked at something behind me, turned and walked out, back onto the evening-lit city street.

“Who was that?” a deep, slightly scratchy voice asked darkly.

I spun around.

“Well?” Roger asked again.

“My…my brother.” I lied.

“Well…he has your eyes.” Roger smirked at me, running a hand across my cheek. I thought for a moment he might actually be caring about me again.  “I’m going to leave early to see a couple of friends. Lock up, will ya?”

Sigh. Nope.

I nodded. “Of course.”

Roger smiled, leaning down to kiss me on the lips. His lips were dry and tasted like liquor. Roger pulled up, smiled at me, and disappeared into the hallway to his office. I watched him disappear into the dark. I started to feel sad, but pushed it away. He would be in my bed tomorrow night.

When I turned back around, the golden tabby from earlier was sitting on the bench across from my register. I, of course, was the only one still working, beside Randy, the ticketboy.  At the sight of the tom, I yelped. I didn’t mean to.

He looked up sharply. “You okay?” he asked.

I nodded dumbly.  “Stubbed..stubbed my toe…” I reached down to rub it, just to be convincing.

The tabby nodded sadly and looked back down, his head in his hands. I was about to say something when Roger came back out. He walked past the yellow tabby, stopping for a moment.

“You here to see a movie?” Roger asked rudely.

The tabby held up his stub, and Roger nodded, then left, without so much as a nod to me. I was glad of that. I didn’t want the tabby to think I wasn’t single.

Who are you kidding? I chided myself. Why would he be interested in you at all?

I sighed and he sighed. I looked around the lobby. There was no one but us.

“Are you alright?” I asked meekly.

He looked up again, sadness thick in his eyes.

“Yeah.”

“That’s not too convincing.”

I couldn’t believe it as I felt myself walking around the counter and toward the tabby. I sat next to him.

“Really,” he said.

I actually ventured a hand on his back.

“I see hundreds of people daily. I know when people are lying, and when someone is hurting.” Where were these words coming from? Who am I? Then, I really surprised myself as I lowered my voice, leaned forward, and whispered, “You like the Deputy Mayor, right?”

It surprised him, too, but then he admitted, “Yeah. Liked her for a long time. Then, she asked Jake out.”

“Jake? Your friend?”

“Yeah.” He offered a paw. “Chance Furlong.”

Chance. It fit him perfectly.

I smiled. “Géraldine Dubris.” I answered. Was that true?

He smiled.

“Call me Geri,” I added.

He nodded.  “No problem.”

I couldn’t believe it, but we talked for almost half an hour after that. We were finally interrupted when Chance’s date stomped out of the theatre and saw us.

“So that’s where you were! Talking to some popcorn shoving slut!”

Do I look like a slut? Am I acting like one? I straightened up and buttoned my top button, reeling.

“Laisa!” Chance stood.

“I’ll get a taxi!”she hissed, and stomped out.

Chance sighed and sat back down.

“I am so sorry.” I felt like crying, and stood up.

Chance looked up.

“It’s not your fault.” He reached into his breast pocket and walked to the counter, taking a napkin. He wrote something and handed it to me.

“Here’s my number. We can finish our conversation later, is that alright?”

I took it, in total awe, nodding. Then, he smiled at me and walked back into the theatre. My knees felt weak.

In the rush out of the theatre after the movie, I didn’t see Chance again.

After making sure everyone was out of the theatre, Randy and I checked over the theatre and then locked up, and I headed home.

It was Friday night, so Egrette, my roommate, was out at some party I was sure, and I just went straight to bed, thoughts spinning in my head. Faces – Roger, Steve…and Chance. I looked over at the bedside table and saw both Steve and Chance’s phone numbers. I rolled over and stuffed them into the bottom of my drawer. No chance in letting Roger find them. I rolled onto my back and stared at the ceiling for an hour before drifting off.

I woke up around noon the next day – Saturday. I don’t work on Saturdays. Yawning and wiping the drool off my chin, I stumbled up and into my bathroom. Well, I share it with Egrette. There are two sides of the small counter. Mine is the clean one. I stripped off my clothes and examined myself in the waist-up mirror critically. I was alright front-view wise, very average. Average weight, size, shape. Then, I turned around. The very large scars on my shoulder blades. Recently, light yellow fur had grown in to give a bit more coverage, but it still looked sparse and very unattractive. I sighed and stepped into the shower, turning the water up hot and hoping no one on my floor flushed a toilet.

After about twenty minutes, I ran out of hot water completely. I turned off the faucet and grabbed my towel. I walked toward the mirror, wiping the condensation off. I glowered at my reflection. I looked even worse wet, with my fur matted down and my hair slicked back to make my forehead and chin even larger than they were. I wondered for a moment about my parents, what they might look like, but let the thought drift away to my own biological clock. I finished getting ready and pulled on the old pair of jeans I was given at the hospital, and also a loose white top. I rarely wore makeup, just lip gloss and mascara, maybe a bit of eyeliner. I pulled my hair into a high ponytail, letting it fall, still damp, over my shoulders, which I had decided were too bony. As a final touch I clasped on a small gold heart pendant, with a “G” made of rhinestones in the center. Roger had given me that, and I touched it against my chest, remembering that a bit fondly.

I walked into my living room and sat down, flipping on the television. I couldn’t even sit there through Scaredy Cat. Flipping off the tube, I walked into my room and looked through my ever-growing collection of books. Mostly they were fantasy, and a lot of books about miraculous phenomena and angels. Angels fascinated me. When I thought of Chance, I thought of angels.

Chance. My gaze fell to my bedside table. Thinking for a moment, I flicked my short tail and opened the drawer, drawing the two slips of paper out. I looked at Steve’s for a moment, but set it back in the drawer. Studying Chance’s spidery writing for a moment, I sat on my bed and picked up my phone, and dialed.

“Hello?” a voice answered. It wasn’t Chance’s but it wasn’t female either. I was hopeful.

“Uh..hi. This is Géraldine Dubris. I…uh…”

“Chance met you last night. He told me about you.”

He did? I grinned on my side. “Oh.”

Jake laughed. “I should introduce myself, huh? I’m Jake, Jake Clawson.”

“Yeah. He talked about you, too. You’re his best friend, right?”

“I should hope so.”

I laughed lightly. “So…um…” Time to make my move. “Is Chance there?”

“Uh, yeah, but he’s watching Scaredy Cat. He loves Scaredy Cat, can’t be bothered when it’s on.” Jake laughed.

Chance likes Scaredy Cat? Me too! “Hey, then…can you tell him to call me?”

“Sure.”

“Thanks. You need my number.” I gave it to him, and we hung up. I let out a long breath, and my heart slowed a bit. I could hear it pounding in my ears now. I lay back onto my bed and looked at an interesting crack in the ceiling.

I awoke almost an hour after that to the sound of the phone ringing. I rolled over from my side onto my back, grabbing the receiver.

“Hello?” I asked eagerly.

“Hey.”

It was Steve.

“How did you get this number?” I sat up. “Are you stalking me?”

Steve laughed nervously. “I know it looks bad, but no. I’m not a creep, I swear.”

“I’m sorry, Steve, but I’m kind of involved right now.”

There was a lengthy silence, and then, “It doesn’t mean we can’t be friends. You do owe me, you know.”

I contemplated. “Yeah, I guess I do.”

The call waiting beeped.

“Look, Steve, I have another call.”

“You can put me on hold.”

“It might be my boyfriend. You’d be on hold for a while.”

Steve sighed. “I understand. Don’t hesitate to call me.”

“Alright.” I pressed the call waiting button, feeling a bit bad for lying.

“Hello?”

“Hey Geri, it’s Chance.”

I smiled, barely containing a laugh of joy and silently voicing my thanks to the heavens.

“Hi Chance!” A little eager, are we? I frowned. What’s worse I could hear Chance laugh on the other end.

“So…did you call me for a reason?”

I flushed. “Not really…I was just…”

“Bored? Glad to be a last resort.” He laughed again.

“Well, it’s Saturday night. Know of any good parties later?” Yes! My flow was back!

“Actually, there’s a beach party at the island. Starts at five, lasts until everyone passes out.”

I grinned. “You going?”

“I guess. It would help if I had someone to go with…”

Is that an invite? Was he inviting me?

“Can you dig anyone’s numbers up?”

Chance sounded a bit disappointed. “Uh…I’m sure I could dig one up.”

Oh my god! He was inviting me, wasn’t he? “Uh…I guess I’ll see you there.”

“Uh huh.”

“Well…bye.”

“Bye.”

I sat in bed for a while, then got up and looked through my wardrobe. What should I wear? Only two hours till.

“Hello?” a voice called. It was high-pitched and a bit nasal. Egrette.

“In here!” I called.

The tall, shapely she-kat with light brown fur and curly red hair came in.

“Goin’ somewhere?”

I grinned. “Party.”

“The big beach party?”

I nodded.

“I’m going too! Need somethin’ ta wear!”

I nodded again, a little nagging fear in me. I could see Chance now.

‘Oh, hey Géri. Ooh…who’s your friend?’

I shook it off as Egrette led me to her room.

I wound up with a black string bikini with a silver dragon on the rear. I wondered if I had ever worn anything that skimpy before. I didn’t look bad – in fact, I looked really okay – but it somehow wasn’t my style. But, to compensate, I wore a long, white and grey floral sarong, and my favourite sandals: between-the toes with laces up my calf. I did look pretty good.

Egrette wore a shiny blue thong number, a black leather skirt, and spiked-heel boots. She was so much taller and slimmer, and prettier than me. I sighed as we climbed into a cab.

We got there at six. The sun was hanging over the horizon, ready to set. There wasn’t a sunset just yet. The party was in full swing, with people dancing on the sand and under a ramada, where there were tables, a buffet, a bar, and a DJ.

Egrette danced off, and I grabbed a margarita at the bar. I hung around there, looking through the crowd for Chance.

Suddenly, I felt a paw on my shoulder. I spun around. It was Chance!

He was dressed in a Hawaiian shirt and long, below-the knee shorts, and was sporting a pair of very cool sunglasses. He looked so hot, and I felt weak again.

Beside him, however, stood a short, silver furred shekat, with curves galore, wearing a red bikini skimpier than mine. She had her arm hooked around Chance’s.

Great, I thought. He dug up an old flame and rekindled it. The she-kat looked very happy.

“Hi.” Chance smiled his breathtaking grin. I had to smile back.

“Hey.”

“Nice party, eh?”

I nodded. “Just got here.”

“I know.”

A group of tall, beautiful, well and barely dressed she-kats walked by. The she-kat on Chance’s arm greeted them, and introduced Chance, but Chance excused himself, picking up a twister at the bar.

“Wanna take a walk?” he asked me.

I nodded, and we walked through the crowd to the less crowded edge of the beach.

“How’s life?” he asked me.

I shrugged.

“Same as it ever was,” I answered, without even thinking about it. Was it the same as it ever was?

“You look upset.”

I shrugged. “Not really.” I finished off my drink. “So, who’s the girl you were with?”

“Uh…that’s Cassandra. Girl I met a while back.” He shrugged, finishing off his drink.

“Oh. You two going to pursue a relationship?”

Chance laughed. “Things didn’t work out before, why would they now?”

I felt a bit stung. “People change.” I hope.

“Can I ask you something personal, Géri?”

I nodded uneasily.

“What happened to your back?”

I looked behind at the two nearly bald spots on my shoulders. “Oh. That.” I knew he would notice. “That’s just another way I’m ugly.”

Chance snorted. “I don’t think you’re ugly.” He looked at me then, and we stopped. Behind him, I could see the sunset. It dyed the sky a bright pink all around us, tinging into purple at the edges of the horizon. Then, I looked from the sky into Chance’s eyes. They were a brighter green than usual, reflecting the pink that enveloped the sky. He looked at me softly, smiling.

“I think you’re beautiful.”

Did he really just say that? What should I say?

“Um…thank you.” I shifted uncomfortably.

Chance just smiled bigger, leaned forward, and kissed me.

He kissed me!

It was a soft, lingering plant to the lips that had me melting in no time. I nearly dropped my empty glass, and it was only at the last second I thought to return this kiss.

After that, he put his arm around my waist and we walked down the rest of the length of beach, watching the sunset and feeling the warm water splash our feet.

I was so giddy I was shaking.

Then, out of the corner of my eye, I caught sight of-

“Steve?”

“Hm?” Chance looked down at me. “Who’s Steve?”

“Some guy…” I shook my head, then led Chance and me toward the crowd. Maybe he wouldn’t see us…

“Géri!” a voice called. I tried not to look back, but Steve caught me by the shoulder.

“Steve…hey…” I moaned internally. Won’t this guy ever leave me alone?

“This time I wasn’t following you!” He laughed.

“Eh… ha ha ha…” I nodded my head. Go away! I wanted to scream.

“So…who’s this?” He pointed to Chance.

“This is Chance Furlong.” I said. “Chance, this is Steve Burmese.”

Steve held out his graceful fingered paw and Chance shook it with his large, muscular-looking hand.

‘Woah.’ I pushed a few thoughts out of my head. They were pushed aside, when Chance put an arm around my shoulders and squeezed me to him. Steve looked a little ill, but smiled politely. I had missed their whole conversation, but Steve was excusing himself and, with a nod to me, took off.

I let out a breath of relief. “Where did you find that guy?” Chance asked me.

“Long story.”

“I like stories.”

“Well, I don’t,” I almost snapped. Chance dropped his arm off my shoulder, flicking an ear.

“Sorry,” he said, purely apologetic.

Oh! What have I done? I took his paw lightly.

“No…I’m sorry. I don’t usually act like that.” Do I?

He smiled quietly and squeezed my paw in his.

After that we got another drink, and even danced a little – I’m a good dancer, but not half as good as Chance is – and then we sat down at a table a talked for a while. We were just on the subject of our mutual love of mongo peppers when Jake walked over with his date. Callie.

“Hey guys.” Jake grinned. Chance had to turn around in his seat to see them.

“Hey Jake…Miss Briggs…”

“Mind if we invade?” Callie asked. She was looking specifically at me. I shook my head.

God. To her I was so plain. She was at least a foot taller than me, beautiful legs, large chest, and the huge pile of golden hair. And, she was wearing the same bathing suit I was.

Jake sat down next to Chance, and Callie sat down next to me. Then, they both leaned over the table and kissed one another. I looked away, blushing, and I think Chance did, too.

“Nice taste in suits!” Callie laughed.

I laughed too.

‘But, you fill it out so much better than I do.’ I sighed internally.

I put my head in my hand as I watched the three converse. Jake and Callie seemed pretty infatuated with one another.  And, Chance seemed a bit troubled about the deputy mayor’s presence.

‘I’m losing him.’ I thought, pained.

Then, he took my hand, lifted it to his lips, and kissed it lightly.

What did I ever do to deserve this?

The rain poured onto the window pane, back-lit by the very dim early-morning sun. It was about five o’clock in the morning. The hotel room smelled musty, and I heard a drip in the far corner that must have been the ceiling.

‘Salt air must have eroded it,’ I thought. I frowned slightly, pondering how much school I had taken in my life. I decided that later I would begin to dig some stuff up on Géraldine Dubris’ past.

I sighed quietly, rolling over in bed. There was a stirring behind me, and then a strong arm wrapped around my waist, warm breath on my neck. I closed my eyes, warmth enveloping me, and stroked Chance’s muscle-thick arm.

‘What is going to happen to counter this pleasantness?’ I knew it couldn’t last forever. Reality is only carefully balanced chaos. No simple things in life.

I stopped by my apartment to change, and was greeted by a notice of eviction from my half of the apartment. Roger had withdrawn his account.

My breath caught in my throat.

I caught a cab and rushed down to the theatre.

“Excuse me, ma’am,” one of the girls said. “You can’t come in without a ticket.”

“Sarah! I work here, remember?”

“No, Géri, you don’t anymore. Roger figured since you weren’t really on the payroll anyway, you didn’t need one of those darn 9-day notices.”

“What?” I gasped, tears welling in my eyes.

“Hey, the only reason you got the job is because you were sleeping with him. It makes sense that since you stopped, he would fire you.” She shrugged, grinning indulgently.

“I…I….” I couldn’t get the words out, and rushed back to my apartment. I dug my old duffel bag out from under the bed and threw in a couple shirts, my old pair of jeans, and a skirt. It would be enough; I came along with less. As an afterthought, I threw in some makeup and a brush, and put all of my savings – $500 total – in the old wallet, then booked it out of there.

‘Where will I go, where will I go?’ I pondered madly, climbing into a cab. I ordered the driver to take me to the next city over, Caterant Hills. I could get a cheap room at a hole-in-the-wall motel there, and live there until I could find another job. No skills, no previous experience. I thought maybe if I dug up some old records, I might find where I used to work. Then, I realised, I had been homeless. If I couldn’t make something of myself then, why would I be able to now? Forget about your past.

I thought briefly about calling Chance.

‘No. I won’t let him support me. Just because he slept with me doesn’t mean I should force myself into his life like that. Maybe he’ll even succeed with the leggy deputy mayor. He had the looks and the charms.

Steve? No. He was a good man, too. He worked at the hospital; he was busy helping people who needed it. I could survive.

I will survive.

I sat down on the bed. It smelled moldy and creaked like hell. The rest of the room was a night stand, a television on a tiny, beat up bureau, and a door. I stood up and opened the door. Or tried to. I had to throw myself against it. The door swung open, and I ran into the small porcelain sink. It was badly stained, and the faucet didn’t just drip; it had a constant stream. Next to it was a leaking toilet, and on the other side a shower without a curtain.

Maybe I deserve this. You get what you put in; people get what they deserve.

I walked out of the bathroom, sat on the bed, and picked up a paper I had bought, opening it to the Employment section.

“Hi,” I smiled politely. “I’m here for the dancing job.”

The man before me, stout, smelly, bald, grunted. “Let’s see it.”

I nodded. I had on the black bikini Egrette had loaned me, and too much makeup. Carefully, I climbed up on stage. The strappy, black heels I had bought were very high; I didn’t want to break an ankle. A song came on, a nondescript rock. I did the best I could, in fact, dancing came natural to me. I could focus my mind, I could feel the music running through my blood, my muscles, controlling my movement. The part that wasn’t so natural was taking off my top. So I just undid the clasp in back.

But, it wouldn’t undo. I fiddle for a couple seconds, then got upset, and, hissing, ripped it off, throwing it down. The pudgy tomkat cracked up, stopping the music.

“I like that. Could you do it every time?”

“Uh…yeah. Sure.” Pervert.

And, so I got the job at Nadine’s Topless Revue. It was a job. It paid okay, I got at least a hundred in tips each set, and I worked three sets; afternoon, evening, and midnight, last set of the day. I got the most then, when everyone was inebriated too much to tell a fifty from a one.

And, sometimes, I was recruited by wealthy, married, lonely businessmen to do private, after hours shows. They were illegal; I wound up bearing all and doing some things on stage I wouldn’t do in private.

But, it was good money, and money was good. And, I got an apartment; small, gross, broken, but better than a motel room.

One day, during my evening set, someone very familiar walked in. He was tall, well built, with green eyes and blonde hair.

Chance. What is he doing here?

I fell out of my beat, but picked it back up and left the stage before the last song finished. Chance was sitting in back, watching me with narrow eyes and glaring at the toms in front.

I was so ashamed. Why was he here? Clearly, he didn’t enjoy watching that sort of thing. I shook my head. Then, I just left. I was supposed to do a round of waitressing, and would probably get fired, but I didn’t care. I couldn’t face Chance. I was too ashamed.

As I rushed to out the back door and began to walk home quickly, a hand grabbed my shoulder. I spun around.

“Chance!”

“Géri.” He looked at me for a long while, and then, finally, asked, “Why did you leave me?”

“I…I…don’t know.” I looked down.

“Look, if you were afraid I would hate your job…well, I do…but I still care for you.”

“It’s not that.” I turned away and started walking quickly again, and Chance walked with me. “I haven’t done this before. I think.”

“You think? Wouldn’t you know if you were a stripper before?”

Stripper. My eyes welled with tears. “It’s a complicated matter, Chance. You don’t deserve to be caught up in my problems.”

“I deserve it as much as you do!” he yelled.

“Chance, what I know about myself is that I used to be homeless. I might have done drugs, I might have been a whore, I don’t know! My first memory is waking up facedown in an alley and they told me in the hospital I jumped out of a window!” I dug into my duffel bag, pulling out my wallet and handing Chance the ID card. “I’m supposed to be this person. The truth is, I don’t even know my own name!” I sobbed once, wiping my nose with the back of my hand. I took away the card, stuffed it back, and took off again.

“When you’re ready,” Chance called to me, “all you have to do is call.”

I didn’t look back and just walked on.

A month later I was still dancing, and hadn’t called Chance, or seen him at the club. Steve had called me, four times in fact, but I never took him up on his offers of dinner or dancing. I was getting more and more desperate and had picked up a habit from a couple of the other girls at the club: katnip. It was something of an escape. It wasn’t happy, though. Whenever I took it, my thoughts just wandered into how meaningless and futile our ever-fragile life is. You die and that’s it. It’s over. Then, why is life? If it was a test, I had failed.

One night I packed all of my bags again and headed out onto the street. Wasn’t really going to go anywhere…if I died in the street, wouldn’t it be fitting?

As I stumbled down the road, I passed a bank. Hearing some noise, I stopped to look into the window. A large group of small, purple crawling things were taking money from the vault and sticking it in a bag.

I gasped.

“Dark Kat,” I whispered, turning to bolt. I ran smack dab into a tall, purple monster in a cape.

“You called?” Dark Kat growled down on me. I began to scream but some Kreeplings jumped on me and gagged me, and then I was dragged onto the roof of the bank and into Dark Kat’s huge jet.

I was thrown into a room with Mayor Manx and the Deputy Mayor. They threw me into a corner, bloodying my nose and popping my left arm out of joint.

“Sorry you had to be there right then,” Dark Kat said, then smiled. “The more hostages the better.” And then, he took off, laughing joyously.

I don’t know how long I was in there, but I finally managed to saw through a rope with my claw. I wriggled out of my bindings and tore the gag off. The Mayor and Callie’s eyes went wide, and I cut them loose, too.

“We have to get out,” I hissed.

Suddenly, the jet rocked violently.

“The SWAT Kats!” Callie rejoiced.

I began to throw myself against the door. “We have to get out so the SWAT Kats can blow this thing up.

Callie helped by throwing her weight against the door, too, but Manx just cowered in the corner I had inhabited.  Finally, we broke it down. Callie bolted, but I ran back in for Manx. By the time I got back out, the place had flooded with Kreeplings. They swarmed at me, knocking me down. Manx took off again as the Kreeplings bit and tore at my flesh. I was bleeding in so many places, I could feel it. I kicked and punched a few of the nasty things off, but they inevitably overcame me. As I began to pass out, I saw two kats running my way.

The SWAT Kats.

And then, I passed out. Or I thought I did. A white-hot feeling enveloped me, and I went blind. My whole body felt like it was melting. I screamed, I know I did. As I was screaming, Steve walked out of the white light. He smiled at me, nodding. He was dressed in a white robe, and he bowed to me. As he bowed, he sprouted wings out of his back. His fur turned white and his hair blonde.

And then, he said, “My queen.”

Suddenly, I fell back to earth. My former surroundings came back as I opened my eyes, except there were no Kreeplings. The SWAT Kats reached me. They looked worried. Still covered in blood but no longer hurting, I stood up. All of a sudden, the customary burning came back to my shoulder blades, and I felt the flesh tear or stretch or something and I hear my red halter top rip.

I opened my wings, spreading and stretching them to their full extent, and stretched my entire body as my brown fur turned white and my straight black hair turned a wavy platinum blonde. My entire being glowed, and I was lifted into the air as I was clad in an intricate design of armor and chain mail. I think I looked like a medieval sorceress right then, with the flowing white, maroon, and black gown. The armor was on my shoulders, torso, bust and arms, with wrist and ankle guards made of gold.

Just as suddenly as it had come, the white light disappeared, dropping me to the floor. I was heavier than I was used to, and I dropped to one knee before standing up again.  I looked at the SWAT Kats. They were speechless, and I was too.

A herd of Kreeplings came barreling at us, and I drew a sword from out of an empty sheath. Yes, empty. The sword materialized in my hand, the blade glowing with energy. I cut at the creatures, who screamed as they died. Some jumped on me, but I flung them off with my brand new, white-feathered wings. The SWAT Kats started firing at the animals as well. I knew how to fight, but didn’t know how I knew. I still, to my disappointment, didn’t remember a thing from my past.

I ran toward where I could sense Dark Kat was.

“Let’s go!” Razor, the short brown-furred one shouted at me. “Leave him be, and let’s go.”

“No! I have to get my revenge!” I roared. I was remembering. His dogs had chased me from the heavens, ripped off my wings, sent me earthbound. I growled remembering it.

“Forget it!” T- Bone yelled. “You’ll have another time.”

Something in the yellow tabby’s voice got me to stop. I thought for a moment and then, as another group of Kreeplings ran toward me, ran back to the SWAT Kats. We bolted through corridor after corridor, and finally got to a cargo door.

“T-Bone!” Razor yelled. “The remote controls are malfunctioning!”

We looked outside. The Turbokat was full of Kreeplings.

“Warning,” a female computer voice announced. “Self destruction mode activated. Destruction carried out in one minute. There will be no more warnings after this.”

“Séraphime!” a voice yelled from behind me.

I spun around.

“Steve?!” I cried.

He bowed, tilting his wings forward. “Carry one, I will take the other.”

There was so much I wanted to ask him. But, I just held out my arms, embracing T-Bone.

“Hold on tight!” And, I took the plunge out of the door. It took a moment to get my wings the angle they needed to be, and we free-fell for those couple seconds.

“I can take it from here!” the tom yelled. He pressed a button on his suit and two button-adorned handles popped out from the back of his suit. He pushed the buttons, and two rocket engines fired. I released him, and as I did, Razor flew to join us, Steve not far behind.

I spotted the Turbokat and dove toward it, my gown and hair flowing freely in the wind. This is what it was about. It felt so good. And, I started to remember everything. I am the Goddess of Angels.

T-Bone flew next to me. “Razor and me can take care of the Turbokat! We can get it down!” Before I could answer, he flew toward the black jet.

A sudden burst of energy flew through the air, nearly hitting the SWAT Kat. I growled and looked back to the other jet.

I banked left and up, flying at Dark Kat’s jet. Pointing my sword at the jet, the jet was enveloped in white and disintegrated presently. Another jet flew up past me; the SWAT Kats had gotten a hold of their jet again. I looked back to find Steve, but he was gone. I followed the jet as it landed in the desert. I was a bit rough on landings still, and stumbled, hitting the ground hard, holding my paws out to catch myself before falling on my face.

“Are you alright?” a voice called. So familiar.

“Chance?” I asked.

The SWAT Kat stopped dead.

“How did you know?”

“I…I don’t know.” I stood up straight.

“Who are you?” the other one asked. That one was Jake.

“Its Géri!” I said. I think…

“That other angel person called you ‘Séraphime,’” Chance said.

“Yeah,” I said. “That’s my name. I…I’m the Goddess of Angels.” Now, that was way too hard to believe. Maybe I was still passed out, and this was just a dream. Maybe I died.

Out of nowhere, my body burnt everywhere. I was lifted into the air again by the white light, and my wings grew back into my body, my fur and hair turned their normal colour, and I was wearing a torn halter top and old, hole-riddled blue-jeans. The light disappeared, and I fell to the desert floor. Chance caught me. I ached everywhere. Chance picked me up and carried me into the Turbokat and took off.

I woke up lying in a strange bed. The room was small, dark, and cluttered, with posters and pictures all over the walls. Stumbling up, I made it down a hallway and into a front room, where Chance and Jake, again in mechanics uniforms, sat on a couch. They both looked up sharply as I stumbled in. Chance ran up and took me around the waist.

“Come on, back to bed.”

I heard Ann Gora’s voice on the television.

“Here is some home-video footage of the two jets, and the awesome winged being that destroyed Dark Kat’s jet.”

“No,” I mumbled. “I want to see this.” I made my way to the couch, collapsing there. The footage was grainy, and Dark Kat’s jet was very small, and I, the winged creature, was almost unseeable. A great white light came from the speck that was me and enveloped the jet, and the jet was no more. I felt very tired again.

As Chance lay me into bed I looked up into his eyes.

“Now that you’ve seen the real me, how can you stand the way this body looks?”

“That’s not you to me. To me you are Géri. Who I fell in love with.”

Love?

“So, you could never love the real me?”

“Who you are now is who you are. I used to be an Enforcer. That’s not who I am now though, is it? Your past does not determine your future, not like that.”

I smiled. “Good. Because unless there’s another emergency, this is who I am.”

He smiled back, and leaned down, kissing my mouth. “We’ll chat tomorrow.”

I slept in until noon, which was what I was accustomed to, and immediately had a craving for katnip. I looked down next to the bed. Low and behold, there was my bag. I unzipped it and looked for my bag. It wasn’t there.

I dumped the contents onto Chance’s bed. Nowhere. I was getting desperate, shaking and sweating. I stumbled into the garage.

Chance looked up, saw my condition, and frowned. “Are you alright?”

I shook my head. “In…in my bag…” How do I say this? ‘I lost my drugs?’

Chance nodded. “I got rid of it.”

“What?!” I pounced at him, grabbing his collar. “I need it!”

He grabbed my shoulders and shook me. “Géri! Get a hold of yourself.”

“I’ll just get more,” I growled, and tried to struggle free, but Chance held me close to him.

“No you won’t. Géri, you’re a goddess. You can get through this.”

I’m a goddess. I can get through this. I nodded, but started crying anyway.  I hurt, I was sweating too.

Chance led me back into the bedroom, laid me down again.

‘I could get away.’ But, soon I drifted off to sleep.

The next time I got out of bed, it was half a week later. It was about six in the morning, and I was wide awake, feeling strong.  I got up, showered, changed into white shorts and a blue tank top, brushed my hair and pulled it back into a French braid, then headed out. Chance and Jake were eating breakfast, Jake was reading the headlines and Chance was reading the comics.

“Hey, that’s my section,” I laughed.

Both kats looked up, worried at first, but then smiled. Chance stood up, running a paw over my cheek.

“Feeling better?”

“Much.” I smiled.

“Hungry?” Jake asked. “I could make something.”

Chance laughed. “I’m a much better cook.”

I smirked. “I don’t do breakfast. Thanks nonetheless.”

The rest of the day was spent talking, laughing, listening to tunes, and fixing cars. I found out I am remarkably good at auto repair, and they let me fix up a car for them. I could do it, but it wasn’t my bag. So, come about noon, I went in and made up a bunch of tuna sandwiches, which the boys wolfed down promptly. I had to laugh when Chance, halfway through the last sandwich, held the other half out to me and, with mouth full, asked, “I’m forry. Did you want fum?”

So, the day came and went, and at the end there was a big argument over what to watch: Scaredy Cat or Litterbin?

“Why don’t they put Scaredy Cat on earlier?” I asked.

“Write to the network,” Jake said.

“Maybe I will. Okay, while the commercial is on, change it to Scaredy Cat.”

“But I-” Jake objected.

“We’ll change it back when the commercial is over.”

“How will we know, though?”

I sighed. “We just will. Then, tomorrow, we’ll watch Litterbin during the credits, and so-forth. Alright?”

The boys nodded, and I smiled, relaxing against the arm of the sofa. When the programmes were over, I wandered into Chance’s bedroom and changed quickly into my customary sleepwear: old bike shorts and a tee shirt. I wandered back into the hallway, just as Jake was going into his room.

“Goodnight, Géri,” he said.

I smiled, then walked into the front room. It was dark and I almost bumped into the coffee table. But, then I reached the couch and shook Chance’s shoulder. He rolled over, and I stooped down.

“Yeah?” he whispered.

“Tomorrow I’m going home,” I whispered back.

“What?” He sat up. “This is your home.”

“This is your home. And, I’m imposing.”

“No, you aren’t.”

I sighed. “At least sleep in your own bed. I’ll be on the couch.”

“Why can’t you be in the bed, too?”

That question struck me. It still alarmed me when Chance showed affection or attraction for me.

He smirked, looking down. “Sorry. I say stupid things a lot. You’ll get used to it.”

I rolled my eyes, and then kissed him. He kissed me back, pulling me onto the couch with him.

Finally, we both wound up back in Chance’s bed. I was feeling beautiful, wonderful, and the feeling of warmth spread through my body as I reached the height of our passion together. The pleasantness surrounded me like a white light…

And then suddenly, we were both lifted up off the mattress. The light enveloped us, and I could feel myself changing back to my winged form. And then, above me, Chance hissed loudly and a pair of wings sprang from his back. His fur mutated to white, with blonde stripes, and my fur changed too. My outfit was different again, too, and Chance had bright silver armor on, a full suit of armor. He looked at me with frightened green eyes, and then the light disappeared, and we fell back to the mattress, hard.

“Ow! God, that stuff is heavy!” I groaned and pushed Chance to the side of me.

“Wh…,” Chance looked at his hands. They were covered with silver gauntlets and white leather gloves. The silver armor was edged with gold, like my armor was gold edged with silver.

“Why didn’t this happen before?” I wondered aloud.

Chance stood up, opening his wings. He knocked a lamp over. It crashed to the ground loudly.

Jake suddenly rushed in. “Géri are you- woah!”

I sat cross-legged on the bed and grinned.

“What the heck happened?” Jake asked wildly.

“That’s what I want to know!” Chance exclaimed.

They both looked at me.

I shrugged. “Hey, I don’t know. I’m just now remembering my name!”

“What were you guys doing to change into-” Jake stopped suddenly. “Oh…uh…never mind.”

I know at that moment all three of us blushed.

“I’m…going back to bed…” Jake wandered back out.

I looked at Chance, and Chance looked back at me.

“Well…when do we change back?”

“I don’t know…Last time I just…changed….” I shrugged.

We waited for almost an hour. It was past midnight, and we were both very tired, so we just changed into our clothes and fell asleep. It felt good to be in Chance’s arms, and it felt even better to feel his huge, feathered wings around me.

When I awoke, I saw Chance was changed back. I smiled. What a relief. Then, I looked back at myself. I hadn’t changed back.

It was about seven on a Saturday morning. I shook Chance’s shoulder and he rolled over, eyes half closed. Then, they opened wide.

“Why didn’t you change?”

“I don’t know.” I twitched a wing, my tail, and an ear at the same time. “You know what, though, I don’t feel perfect like I usually do when I change. My vision is blurry.”

“Yeah, and your eyes are still brown.”

“Huh?”

“Last time when you changed they were blue. And, your facial features are the same. Just a different color. In fact…” Chance sat up, brushing his wild hair down. “You did change back from last night. Just not completely.”

“What?” I gasped.

Behind Chance, there was a sudden flash of white, and Steve appeared.

“I was afraid this would happen.”

“What would happen?” I demanded, marching toward Steve.

He just smiled calmly.

“That you would breed outside our kind. I tried to prevent it. Once you reentered the world of angels, if you have mated with a non-angel, you transfer your power to them, and you then have the ability to change only from regular angel to goddess.”

Thank god that didn’t happen with Roger. Sheesh.

“Oh no…” I groaned. “How can I do anything looking like this?”

“You can’t,” Steve replied, still calm. “You have to come back to the Realm.”

“The Realm? No! I want to stay here on earth! This is my home!”

“Then, I can’t help you.” He flashed away.

“Jerk,” Chance grumbled. Then, he got up and put his arms around me.

I started to cry.

“Sh. It will be okay,” he comforted me. “Are there any other gods or goddesses? Maybe they can help you.”

“Actually… I’ve always been interested in religion, and I only found a couple with an Angel God, and only one with an Angel Goddess…” I began to get dressed. “Let me go to my apartment and pick up my books.”

“Uh…Géri…” He gestured at my wings.

“I’ll fly really high up.”

“No. Let the SWAT Kats escort you. Someone might try to shoot you down.”

I laughed. “I’m a god, Chance. I think I can fend for myself.”

“But, I’m your Guardian.”

I stopped dead. “What?”

“I…I don’t know, but last night, I knew I was your Guardian. So, let me change and I’ll come with you.”

“I don’t know…”

He looked at me pleadingly, and I nodded.

Somehow, we were able to will our change. We told Jake where we were going – he was still a little shocked – and soon we were high up in the air.

“I can’t tell the city from up here,” I said to myself. The wind rushing by was too much noise for Chance to hear over, I knew. Only it wasn’t.

“I can,” he answered back, “I know it like the back of my paw.”

“Chance…do you realise you just spoke in my head?”

He had been below me, flying a bit faster, and then he swooped upward to join me, flying parallel to me.

~Cool,~ he answered back, not even opening his mouth. I smiled. ~There it is,~ he said and dove downward.

~Careful on the landing.~

~Géri! I have flown a jet for half my life. I think I’ll be fine.~

~Okay…~

We landed on the top of an apartment building. Chance was right; he could land perfectly. But, I was still rough. He had to catch me before I plowed into him. He smirked at me.

“What?” I snapped.

He just grinned.

“Nothing.”

Chance broke open the lock on the door to the stairs, and we headed down.

“You know…” I thought out loud, “Steve can make himself appear places. You think we can?”

“Honestly, I wouldn’t know. I’m very new to this.” He sounded a bit apprehensive about everything.

“I should remember things, but I guess I still have some amnesia.”

We reached my floor and walked down the hallway. One of my neighbors – an old, very religious she-kat – saw us. Her eyes widened, and she began babbling in whatever language she spoke and crossing herself. I could have deciphered her speech, but I decided it really didn’t matter, and we were at my door anyway.

“My key! I forgot my key!”

Suddenly, my key appeared in the lock, and it even turned by itself.

“Well…that’s a perk,” Chance laughed. We entered my apartment.

“You lived here?”

“Hey, it’s not much worse than your room.”

Chance made a face and stuck out his tongue, and I did it right back.

~Immature…~ I thought to him as I walked into my room.

~So?~ he thought back, following. I went to my bed stand and opened the top drawer. I pulled out the pile of books and checked the spines for a title.

“Ah. Katmandian.” I opened the book to the table of contents. “Well, we have two shots. The God of Illusion and the God of Mutation.”

“Well, if you just make them invisible, people will bump into them all the time.”

“True,” I said, flipping through the book, “But, the God of Mutation is known to be very deviant and not likely to grant favors.”

I turned to the chapter about angels and turned to a picture. It was a very old wall mural done by the Katmandians. It detailed a beautiful woman surrounded by light, and at her side was a messenger and a warrior, and above her an evil spirit, and below her a few nondescript kats.

“Look,” I giggled and pointed to the warrior, “that’s you.”

Chance grinned. “Doesn’t look anything like me.”

I shrugged. “Maybe you’re not the first,” I answered before I knew what I was saying. We both looked down, but then a paragraph caught my eye.

“Listen to this,” I said. “’It was told in the Holy Books of Katmandia that the Goddess of the Angels was chased out of the heavens by a mad dog sent by the God of Demons. She was rescued by her two most faithful servants, but could not return to the Heavens. In her form she could not fit in, so she took them on a quest to the God of Mutation, during which one of them died.’”

I looked up.

“So, did this happen before, or was it a prophecy?”

“I don’t know,” Chance growled, “can’t you remember?”

“No, I can’t,” I snapped, “And, don’t get mad at me. I didn’t do anything.”

“I know,” he sighed, taking one of my paws. “It’s just frustrating.”

I snorted bitterly. “You’re telling me.” I looked back at the book.

“Hey, it says the God of Mutation was found somewhere on the Earth.” I looked up. “Seen any Mutation Gods lately?”

Chance shook his head, but then his eyes widened. “They could be talking about Doctor Viper! Think about it!”

I did. “You might be right!” I looked at the ceiling.

“Steve!” I yelled. “Come here!”

In a flash he appeared at my side. “Don’t have to yell.”

“Steve, we’re going on a quest.”

“Oh no we’re not. I can’t leave. Without you in the heavens, I take over all the work.”

“But…I was reading…and….”

“Sorry,” Steve shrugged. “I’m not the one.” He disappeared again.

“Jerk,” Chance grumbled again.

I picked up the book.

“Let’s go home. I’ll read more.”

“Alright.”

We flew back to the garage and landed on the roof.

We walked into the kitchen, where Jake was eating. He looked up. He was still shocked, but he was trying to act like nothing was different.

“Some guy named Steve called for you, Géri. He left a message. He said, ‘I told you I was not the one. Ha ha.’ He told me to make sure to add in the ‘ha’s.”

He went back to eating.

Oh no, I thought. If that was a prophecy…one of them is going to die!

My eyes widened and filled with tears. I went into the room, changing back to my more normal form, and threw myself on the bed, crying. Chance came in, detransformed, and sat on the edge of the bed. He moved my wing out of the way, and touched my face.

“What’s wrong?”

“If the story was a prophecy, and the prophecy was right…one of you are going to die!” I sniffled, burying my face in the pillow. “I should just go back.”

“No.” Chance lay down next to me and looked into my eyes. “You can’t leave me.”

“If I don’t, you might die.”

“If you do, I will die.”

“What about Jake? He’s your best friend. What if he dies?”

“No one is going to die.”

“How is Viper going to help us anyway? The most he’s succeeded in is turning kats into toads.”

Chance sighed. “We’ll just have to see when we get there, won’t we?”

“We’ll take off tomorrow, alright?”

Chance nodded. “Alright. I’m going to go help Jake with the workload now. Call me if you need anything.”

He got up and left and I curled into a ball, wrapping my wings around myself. Such a mess I’ve made. I should never have even talked to Chance that night.

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