Power Games 5:
The BoogieKat Killer pt 1 of 4

by Fur and Fantasy
NC-17 for M/M, M/F sex
full contents and notes located at the bottom of the file

Officer Jeremy Fender glanced up when the buzzer requested admittance from the outer entrance hall of Alkatraz Prison. A glance told him it was one of the many priests that visited every day, though not one he knew.

"ID up to the window, please," he said, carefully examining the picture ID compared to the giant of a Panther-Tiger hybrid it went with. Satisfied he was dealing with the real Conroy Steevers, he pressed the button to unlock the door.

"Please sign in," he said as the giant came inside the relatively small interlock between the main lobby and prison blocks. "Who are you here to see?"

"Doug Berten," Conroy said simply as he signed the book.

"Who is Rapentap?" he asked with conversational curiosity.

"Are you sure you want to know?" The dark-furred Xanith chuckled, glancing down at the guard with a distinctly amused expression. "He is called the Thief of Innocence. Though I assure you, Mr. Berten's actions were beyond what most of the faithful would accept."

That raised an eyebrow, though Jeremy nodded and wrote something in his log before glancing at the other side of the interlock and nodded at the two officers there.

"Officer Winterlight will show you to his cell," he told the priest

"You asked," Conroy pointed out with a low chuckle, moving to follow the other guards, inclining his head towards the White Wolf and Tiger politely before following the White Wolf into the complex while the Tiger remained at the post.

"Did you know Mr. Berten before he was captured?" Officer Winterlight asked.

"Only by reputation, and not what he was doing," the hybrid said, shaking his head slightly. "Keep in mind, I was only a kitten myself when he started, and only getting out of college when he was captured. He must be in his seventies now," he mused.

"Only sixty-two," Winterlight said evenly. "If his confessions are to be believed, he started when he was ten and never really stopped. You have quite a twisted soul to deal with in this one."

"Very twisted, and very sick ... gifted as well," Conroy agreed as they started back into the cells. "He did manage to avoid capture for ... what ... forty years, before he was caught? I had thought it was only thirty, myself."

"Quite a few numbers came out over the years," Winterlight nodded and opened the door to a secure meeting room containing little beyond two chairs and a small metal table. "Thirty is what the press seems to like, his confessions go back quite a bit further. If you would wait inside, Berten will be brought shortly."

"Thank you," he nodded, taking a seat and inspecting the two bottles of dark, fragrant oil that had been brought in for him. "Is this room monitored? It is preferable for us to have privacy for the rites," he explained.

"It is monitored, sir," Winterlight answered. "This is Alkatraz. No one here can be trusted to be unmonitored."

"I understand. We will make do," he nodded, leaving the Wolf to go fetch the criminal he was waiting for.

'Conroy' leaned back as the officer left, keeping his thoughts to himself. He would have to be marginally more circumspect this time ... even the people of Megakat City had standards, and the guards would be unlikely to stand for his true purpose.

The Boogiekat Killer would be in the room shortly. They would be watched, but he could work around that. He just had to make sure that his new friend didn't balk at talking to him when he found out that the priest he was speaking with didn't truly serve his master.

After all, he had so much more to offer than Rapentap did, these days.

Desperation was likely his best weapon. No matter how strongly true servants believed in whatever reward they had been promised, it was the rare one that did not want to stay here longer.

The door opened and Officer Winterlight showed an aging, overweight piebald tom in to the room. He took his seat, glancing back at the Wolf nervously, his tail swishing back and forth.

They both remained silent until the door closed and they had the illusion of privacy at least.

"Who are you?" Doug Berten demanded with a low hiss.

"Conroy Steevers, the priest you've been looking for ever since they set the date of your execution," he replied quietly. "And if you want any chance of reward or redemption, you will accept that," he added, just loud enough for Doug to hear him. "I can help you, Mr. Berten ... for a price."

"What price?" he asked in the same tone.

"That when you leave this place, you resume your work," Conroy smiled darkly. "And that you seek vengeance on those who put you here. That isn't too much of a price to ask, now is it? And one that I'm sure your Master would approve of," he purred lowly. "As a matter of fact ... I could show you, if you wish."

Doug regarded him evenly for a calculating moment, then nodded. "Show me."

Conroy reached out, placing his hand on the kat's forehead.

"Make a sound, call out for the guards, and I will not be responsible for the consequences," he told Doug before closing his eyes, drawing him down into the abyss that awaited him every night, past the howling souls of the damned and the dying, past those who called out to darkness in their desperation, into the very bowels of the black reaches where Rapentap awaited him.

The ancient Kat sat on a throne made from the bones of kittens, shrouded in a tattered cloak, the hood pulled back to reveal his moldering face, hollow eye sockets occasionally flickering with some loathsome thing that crawled behind them. An emaciated kitten sat at either side of him, one male, one female, chains around their necks looking up hopelessly at Doug and the giant Xanith who led him here as Rapentap scratched their heads with bony fingers and mock tenderness.

Doug recognized them. The first two kittens he had killed, once he had been consciously aware of the being of power who sat before him now. His first sacrifices to his god.

"Go ahead; ask him any question you have," the Priest commanded him, now seemingly transformed into a massive being of shadows and blood, rather than dark fur and red stripes.

"Master," Doug dropped to his knees, his head bowed in reverence and a bit of fear. "Will I still feel the pleasure I have known with my work, after this priest has done his work on me?"

"You will," the rotting figure promised him. "Just as I have still known the pleasures of my trade after my ascension. I have promised you rewards ... trust our Priest, and you will become my hand upon this world. Beyond the reach of the Enforcers. You will become what you have always tried to be."

"Yes, my Lord," he shivered in excitement at the prospect. "I will do as you say. I will do as he says."

"I am not surprised by this," Rapentap chuckled, a raspy, rattling sound. "When the time comes, you will bring me many new souls, and create terror throughout the city that has rarely been known. You will also settle things with those who lived."

"Adults, Master?" Doug glanced up, not so sure about that. He knew he'd do it when Rapentap or Conroy said to, but it didn't sit as well as his other duties.

"They will not have to be, when you face them," the shadowy figure next to him promised with a low chuckle. "If you are satisfied, we should return soon, before the guards become suspicious. There is much to do, before you are free."

"I am," Doug nodded, eager to return to his body and begin again. "It will be good to be free again."

"Have some patience," Conroy warned him, taking his hand and beginning the return journey to their bodies. "And have faith. You will be free."

The return was much faster than the journey to reach Rapentap had been. In a seeming instant, Doug's eyes flashed open, covered by the inside of Conroy's hand. The Xanith pulled it back, taking one of the two bottles of oil and uncorking it, dipping his fingers into the dark liquid, seeming to prepare for something.

Even though he could pass it off as shock, Doug Berten would have allowed this Kat to cut his heart out right now, if it came with the words that Rapentap wished it for him to be free.

"I will have to see you again next weekend," Conroy explained to him quietly, leaning forward and marking a symbol on his forehead with the oil, opening the second bottle and repeating the gesture, mingling the two scents. "Clean that off whenever you have to; it does not have to remain."

"I understand," he replied with an outer calm that did little to hide his eager willingness from Conroy. "I will be here."

"I'll hold you to that," the Xanith chuckled. "Now... I believe we still have some time on the clock, before our appointment is over. Why don't you tell me a bit about yourself? I'm an admirer of your results, but I've never had the opportunity to speak with you directly before."

Doug brightened considerably to have even a few minutes to talk to a kindred soul and began to detail his life on a level that would eventually shock even the detectives that had hunted him from the beginning.

"Mother?" a pre-teen golden-orange tabby poked her head out of the kitchen at a gasp from the small living room. "Mom?" she repeated with a bit more volume and worry when there was no reply.

"It ... it's all right Tamera," a shaky reply came, drawing the girl into the room to look the small black and white TV. "The news just startled me."

"Doug Berten?" she glanced over at the marmalade shekat in her mid-twenties. "Who's that?"

"A very bad Kat who's about to get what he deserves," the shekat told her quietly, getting up to turn off the TV. "You don't have to worry about him though. So... let's figure out what to do for dinner, okay?"

She was clearly trying to brush it off, to act like it didn't really matter. Tamera wasn't fooled; she'd heard that tone before, most memorably right after her grandparents died.

"All right," Tamera nodded. "Maybe chicken and alfredo veggies?"

"Sounds good to me," Connie smiled, starting out to the kitchen. "So, how was school today?" She asked, pulling out the pots they'd need.

"Okay," she shrugged a bit, still watching her mother carefully. "I kicked tail in the tag football game in PE, Katian still sucks, math is too easy."

"It'll get harder," Connie chuckled. "Need any help with your Katian tonight?"

"Why won't they let me take the harder courses now?" she almost whined.

"Honey, we've already talked about this," Connie pointed out as she started the pre-prepared vegetables and sauce she'd made during the weekend. "You're already taking the most advanced math classes they offer at your school. Maybe if you can get your Katian grades up, they'll let you move ahead to the high school courses next year," she offered.

"Yes, mom," she sighed. "I could use some help with them, please."

"I'll help you with your homework after dinner then," Connie told her, getting the water started for the pasta. "Anything else? How're your science classes going?"

"It's not bad," she shrugged. "It's just the why of things I already know."

"It'll get to be more useful as you get older," she smiled. "Just keep it up; maybe one of these days you'll get in with Pumadyne."

"I guess," Tamera said, not all that sure it was something that appealed to her, but not about to say her mother wasn't right. "Maybe next year'll be more interesting when there are labs and stuff."

"It usually is ... just watch out for biology," she chuckled. "You'll learn more about the insides of frogs than is really healthy to know."

"We'll see," she giggled. "Dinner smells good at least."

"Gee, thanks for the vote of confidence," Connie said dryly. "Set the table, okay honey? This should be done soon."

"Yes, mom," Tamera giggled and hurried off to get ready for dinner.

Later that night, after Connie had finished helping Tamera with her homework and sent her to bed, the marmalade shekat sat down in the living room and pulled the stopper out of a bottle of whiskey as she turned it on, turning to the late-night news.

She looked at the bottle as the screen faded in on a re-broadcast of the story she'd seen earlier. She'd come so close to having a problem with it, before. She'd stopped before getting that far, but she didn't particularly like to flirt with the possibility anymore. It was why she hadn't had a drink since her parents had died two years earlier.

"...officials at Alkatraz have announced that the execution of Douglas Berten, better known to our viewers as the Boogiekat Killer, has been scheduled for execution by hanging one month from today," Anne Gora explained. Connie took a long drink from the bottle.

Screw it. If her parents dying warranted a drink, this did too. Maybe more than one.

"The Boogiekat, also known as BKK by detectives, conducted a thirty-year reign of terror throughout MegaKat City, attacking kittens, killing them later in his nefarious career. But now, after nearly fifteen years in the system exhausting his appeals, a story nearly half a century long is drawing to a close."

"Bullshit," Connie growled lowly. Maybe it was for him. But it wasn't for people like her, for the people who'd survived, or who'd lost a kitten to that son of a bitch. It had almost ended for her already, really... she'd thought that after the last appeal had bombed, it would be over, that she could finally move on. But then this had to come up and remind her.

She closed her eyes and took another drink, letting the hard liquor warm her as Berten's picture appeared on the screen. He looked like an old tom ... weak, exhausted, broken ... pitiable. So very different from how she remembered the monster in the closet that still haunted her nightmares. She pushed him out of her mind, trying to focus on what had happened afterwards, the good parts. Not everything he'd touched had been ruined.

She smiled faintly as she remembered Chance. That had been one of the good parts. It might not have been long, but the tabby tom had managed to make her feel safer than anybody else had since, something she'd needed badly at the time, through the trials and stress they'd both lived through. It was too bad her parents had been such jerks about it, and that they hadn't really had anything more in common. Sharing a rapist wasn't really a good basis for a relationship, and her folks pushing her to try and find somebody more 'on her level' hadn't helped anything.

She had to wonder what they'd think of him now, if a top-ranked Enforcer pilot would be welcomed differently. Not that it mattered; they didn't have enough in common then, they probably had even less in common now. He'd clearly moved beyond all this. He'd really made something of himself.

She chuckled, indulging in a moment of bittersweet reflection. Chance, the 'street kit' her parents hadn't thought was good enough for her, was an Enforcer, well ranked and highly regarded. And she was here ... she didn't have a dead end job, but she knew full well that the bright point in her life was Tamera, not her career.

Sometimes she wondered, just how her life would have gone if she hadn't broken up with Chance. Would things be better? Or would they both be worse off, trying to make a relationship and a life work that hadn't really been meant to?

She put the stopper back into the bottle and got up to put it away. Last thing she needed was a serious hangover in the morning. As she got up, Anne was interviewing some bleeding heart who was going on about how useless and inhumane the death penalty was, and she growled as she turned off the TV.


Across the city, Chance was voicing much the same opinion of the speaker, quietly fuming as he picked up the remote and turned off the news. His ears were flat, his tail-fur fluffed out in irritation.

He'd been in a dark mood all day, ever since he'd gotten home from second shift, and Midnight had a pretty good idea why.

She just had to figure out some way to get him to talk about it. It wasn't healthy to keep it bottled up the way he was doing.

"Ready for bed?" she asked him quietly, brushing her milk-filled breasts against him as she gave him a sound kiss intending to gauge his inclination to wear himself out with their bodies. It usually left him much more inclined to spill whatever he needed to verbally.

He wasn't particularly enthusiastic, but he returned it, wrapping his arms around her and warming to the affectionate contact.

"Sorry," he murmured softly after a few minutes. "Guess I've been in a pretty crummy mood tonight, huh?"

"Yes," she nuzzled him. "The kits were scared."

"Ah crud," he sighed, almost seeming to deflate. "I'm sorry. Long shift, mostly paperwork and dealing with Feral, and then that crap on the news everywhere.... What'd you tell 'em?"

"That you had a hard day and it wasn't them," she said with a gentle kiss. "They'll be fine, love. It's just the first time you've been really unsettled when you came home."

"It might happen a few more times, in the next month or so," he admitted, rubbing her back and returning the kiss. "I've got guard duty for the execution ... how much do you know about that freak?"

"BKK? Not much," she admitted. "By the time I kept up on the news, he was mostly out of it. He scared the crap out of my parents though. He's more to you, I'm guessing."

"Yeah. And your parents were right to be scared. I was his second-to-last victim," Chance admitted quietly. "Y'ever wonder why I don't like guys, he's the big reason. You're the first person I've told about it since he went to prison," he told her seriously, looking into her eyes, trying to get across just how badly he didn't want to have to tell the story to anybody else if he could avoid it.

"If Jake doesn't know by now, he doesn't need to know from me," she smiled gently at him. "Neither does anyone else, love."

"Thank you," he murmured, kissing her and leaning back against the couch with a shudder. "He killed another kitten after I got away," he murmured softly. "That was what got him caught, and what got the Enforcers enough proof to hang him. You know why they call him the Boogiekat?"

"No," she snuggled into his lap.

"He was the monster in the closet," Chance explained, holding her close. "I still remember that week ... plumber came over early in it, I found out later. Nice guy, even cut the rate for the job since he could tell we were strapped for cash," he chuckled bitterly. "When Mom found the bill and didn't see him, she assumed he'd left. He was hiding in my room instead. Three nights ... I spotted him once, but Mom and Dad both thought it was just a nightmare. Mom almost caught on ... she smelled him there, but she assumed he'd gone in during the day. She was pissed, but she didn't realize he was hiding in the crawlspace just three feet in front of her. Not until the third night, when...." Chance's voice broke, and his squeezed his eyes shut, his scent heavy with shame and age-old fear.

"Love, you are safe here," she said softly but firmly, drawing on more than two decades with Jake and far more persistent evils to try to help her mate. "I will never think less of you for what others did."

"Thank you," he murmured, nuzzling her neck and inhaling her scent. "I got away, don't really remember how anymore, and he got away after that. The Enforcers were sweeping the neighborhood when they caught him walking away from an apartment a block or two away ... little kit, six years old, still warm when they checked her bedroom," he shuddered. "Mom ... she went a little crazy, I guess, not that I was that much better for a while."

"Oh, baby," she hugged him as best she could. "I'm sorry that happened to you, and you are definitely right about Jake not needing to find out. The execution brought everything back up?"

"Yeah ... that, and convincing Feral to give me guard duty without telling him exactly why," Chance nodded. "Didn't think he'd do it, but he told me to let him think about it over lunch, then told me I was on the walk just before we went out for our flight patrol."

That was enough to silence her with a worried expression.

"Love ... are you sure that's a good idea?"

"Yes," he said certainly. "I want to be there to watch that bastard swing, and if he tries to get loose ... I'm not gonna let him hurt any more kittens. Can't leave it up to others."

Midnight sighed and snuggled against him. "What can I do to help you through this?"

"Let me know if I'm getting into a bad mood?" Chance suggested. "I should be better after tonight ... just the first time in a long time I've thought about it."

"I will," she promised with a kiss on the cheek. "Any particular distractions you'd like?"

"Mmm ... tonight, or in general?" He asked her with a half-way grin.

"In general," she giggled and kissed him. "Then tonight."

"Mmm... in general, keep me focused on what's going on," he purred, kissing her back. "Maybe we'll get out, just us and the kits, some time ... zoo or something, maybe."

"I can see to that," she smiled and nuzzled him affectionately. "And tonight?" she asked with a throaty purr.

"Mmm ... for tonight, the kittens are asleep and I've got about twelve hours before my next shift," he rumbled, kissing her deeply. "Want to try and make it to the bedroom, or take advantage of the fact they can't get out of bed yet?" He asked her with a grin.

"Now that depends," she rubbed her body seductively against his. "On whether you intend to wear yourself out or not. Though upstairs, I do have a little something new to show you."

"Then we'd better get up there first," he chuckled, licking her chin and picking her up as he stood.

"I thought so," she nuzzled him and ghosted her tail down to rub against his crotch. "I hope you like it."

"I'm sure I will," he purred, kissing her as he carried her up the stairs. "Let's just hope the kittens stay asleep for another hour or two," he added with a chuckle and let her open the door to their bedroom before setting her on her feet. "Now ... where should I wait for this surprise?"

"How about naked on the bed, lover?" she winked before unbuttoning the nursing blouse she had on and tossing it into the laundry hamper.

"Works for me," he grinned, following suit, undressing quickly and getting his clothes into the hamper before climbing into bed to wait for his mate to come out of the master bathroom.

He was several minutes waiting, time he indulged in a few fantasies about what she might have in mind. His eyes went directly to the door when it opened, and it drew a rumble from deep inside him.

The deep wine red teddy's bustier was cut well below her nipples, the crotch barely qualified for a string bikini and mesh stockings that worked down to matching high heels.

"Now when did you pick that up?" He asked her with a grin.

"A couple days ago," she purred seductively. "Your female squad mates took me shopping when you were out with the guys."

"Why do I have a feeling that they arranged for that?" He rumbled deeply, spreading his legs to reveal his full sheath, dark red tip poking out of it. "So ... care to get a closer look at what that outfit does to me?" He grinned.

"Because it was," she purred into a rumble of her own and crawled onto the bed. "You've been moody, and they don't like it any more than I do."

"Sorry," he murmured, kissing her tenderly, rubbing a hand down her sateen-clad side. "Always love you though, and the kits."

"I know," she leaned forward to kiss him soundly, lowering her body to rub the silky material against his crotch. "We do it because we care about you."

"Mmm ... luckiest tom alive," he groaned lowly and rubbed against her eagerly. "You want to be in charge tonight?"

"Sure, handsome," she kissed him again before sliding down his body and capturing his half-hard erection between her full tits.

He moaned lowly, reaching down to rub her ears tenderly, feeling her breasts pressing tightly around him. This had always been a blast, but ever since her chest had started expanding when she was pregnant, it had been something else entirely.

His shaft hardened quickly, his rubbery barbs brushing her chin lightly before she tipped her head down to lick at the spongy cone at the tip, drawing another deep, lusty groan as he glanced over to see if she'd closed the door.

He closed his eyes after seeing it was safely secured and let himself drift into the heady pleasure of a shekat who knew him so well.

Well enough that it didn't take her long to have him at the brink of his first orgasm of the night. He whimpered softly as she kept him there for a few minutes, teasing and pulling back time and time again until he roared as he came hard, pumping his seed into her mouth to be swallowed eagerly.

"Mmm, I've missed my tabby seed," she purred and licked him clean before sliding up to rub her sateen-covered sex against his hard shaft. "I think I could come just like this, get you wet even before my panties come off."

"I bet I know how to guarantee it," he purred, kissing her hungrily. "Want me to make you glad for the soundproofing?" He grinned.

"Always," she moaned, the swollen lips of her sex trying to pull the hard cock against it inside despite the cloth separating them.

He grinned, pressing her up, reaching down to slip his fingers into her panties, rubbing her clit as he rubbed his shaft against her slick lips. He leaned up, closing his lips around her swollen, hard nipples, lapping and nipping at them gently.

"Oh Bastet!" she cried out sharply, pressing her breasts forward as the first twitches of an orgasm began at her clit.

He closed his lips around her engorged nipples, suckling lightly until he got just a taste of her sweet, rich milk, working her clit hard and fast with slick fingers as he tried to push her over the edge.

It didn't take much, and her body pressed hard against him, her clit twitching as her body cried out to be filled when nothing was inside her.

He obliged her without a word, pulling her bikini bottom aside and pressing his own throbbing cock up into her, moving his head up to kiss her hungrily as she cried out.

The rush of her passion was nearly enough to draw him to the brink again, but he managed to hold back, to keep thrusting up into her as her pleasure peaked, slowly receded and began to rise again.

He was only partially aware of the way she tugged at him to roll over, but he moved without thought and began to take her hard as he pinned her under his greater weight.

He kissed her again, then started to lick at her throat and face as he braced his feet against the foot of the bed, pushing himself into her hot, wet body as his hand found her breasts and started working them with practiced skill.

"Love you," she moaned breathlessly between whimpering cries of raw pleasure.

Chance roared, pumping a load of seed into her sex, continuing to thrust into her with an eagerness she'd grown to love over the last few years.

"Love you too," he groaned, kissing her as they mated.

"Ouch," Rock winced as Jake took a snap-kick across the side of his head and got slammed to the mat, only to roll to his feet and crouch slightly to face off against the sleek black shekat that was his physical mirror in many ways.

"Now you see why I got out of this," Chance agreed with a wince of his own. "He's still got a chance, if he can take her down before time's called, but she's damned good."

"So's he," Amanda reminded him, even as Kathie's riotous cheer ended the conversation in time for them to catch the end of a leaping stomp that landed squarely on his opponent's head and followed her to the mat to smash her head down.

"No arguments there," Chance winced. "Yeesh, that could do it."

"Nope," Kathie countered as the black shekat reached up and grabbed his ankle, accepting the damage as she twisted under him and shoved herself up to throw him off balance.

"Time!" The referee called, causing both bloody opponents to settle on their feet and bow to the other with an arm tight across their chest. The referee glanced at the judge's table, made a quick hand signal, and nodded. "The match goes to overtime!"

"And that's why Midnight stopped coming to these," Chance winced as the two combatants moved in close. They didn't have the time to circle and jockey for position much; one minute to get as many points as possible, or to knock out their opponent.

"No!" Rock couldn't stop the terrified gasp that came out as she made a snap-kick and twisted her hips at the last second. Jake's entire body cracked sideways, his eyes closing as they rolled back and he hit the mat, blood oozing from his mouth.

"Shit!" Chance swore under his breath, though he grabbed Rock's shoulder to keep the tabby from going into the ring. "Rock, he'll be okay," he reminded his cousin. "Not just because of who he is either."

"No one's died from an MMA fight the three decades," Kathie added, though she was on her feet to put herself at Rock's other side. "He doesn't look that bad from here."

The referee walked over to Jake, checking on him until the paramedics took over and took his limb form out on a stretcher.

With a nod to the judges he walked over to the heavily breathing and bloody black shekat and raised her arm. "The match goes to Kyale Bulank!" he called out to wild cheers.

"Come on, let's go check on Jake," Chance told Rock, snapping his attention from worrying long enough to start making their way to the medical center where they'd be able to find the unconscious tom and several others, both winners and losers of earlier matches.

"Right, yeah," Rock nodded and followed his cousin to the space they'd both seen too much of by some accounts. "It's days like this that make me wonder why he does it."

"'Cause when he wins, it's a real rush ... besides, consider what you guys do," Chance pointed out, making his way to the most recent arrivals.

"Yeah, but that's to get off," he objected. "I happen to know he doesn't like getting beaten up like this."

"He'll be fine," a petite blond who'd cleaned Jake up smiled up at the tabbies as they came into view of her patient. "Should be up and about in an hour or two. He was just knocked out. Nothing is broken or ruptured."

"That's what I figured, but his boyfriend worries," Chance smiled, nodding towards Rock. "We'll wait ... or at least you will," he told Rock. "I'll go grab us all something to drink."

"Sounds good," Rock nodded and settled himself on the edge of the cot Jake was laying on. "I could use something strong right now," he added and reached out to gently brush damp hair from Jake's face, wanting to see and feel for himself that what she said was true.

"I'll be back soon," Chance reassured him, heading out to the ring's bar.

A thunderstorm in his head, that's what was going on. Something hit him, and hit him hard, and now there was nothing but throbbing pain in his head.

Must have rattled his brain pretty hard to knock him out.

But what had he been up to, before that? Probably the MMA match, though it might have been on the way there.

With a whimpering groan, he forced his eyes open, hoping he wouldn't have to try to form words to get a clue.

"For what it's worth, you made it to overtime in the match," Rock offered quietly, rubbing his cheek. "Why do you go and do this to yourself?" He added, offering Jake a glass of water when the battered tom managed to push himself partially upright.

It earned him a faint smile before Jake sipped the water and swallowed the coppery mix it made in his mouth. "To test myself. Against another person is the only challenge worth the effort."

"Right ... well, just remember, you might not be able to get killed, but if you give me a heart attack out there, I don't bounce back the same way," Rock murmured, kissing his forehead lightly.

"You cheer as loudly as anyone when I win," Jake countered with a bit of a smile and continued to sip his water.

"Told you he'd be okay," Chance offered as he came back, giving Rock a second bottle of beer.

"I'm not going to feel like moving for a couple days at least," Jake admitted weakly. "This is going to really hurt by morning. She gave me a beating."

"I'm not gonna argue with that," Chance agreed easily.

"You just scared me, badly," Rock admitted, kissing his forehead. "Even knowing what I do about you."

"You don't need to be afraid for me here," Jake turned into the kiss. "We're all too good to kill by accident."

"Of all the things you could be sensible about, you pick getting the shit beat out of you," Rock mock-groaned.

"Could be worse," a familiar voice teased them. "He could be doing it professionally."

"Hi Terin," Jake smiled at her and relaxed back onto the cot. "You catch the match?"

"Oh yeah," she grinned back. "You rocked."

"He usually does," Chance chuckled. "Think she's got a good shot at the championship, so no shame in losing to her at all."

"Buddy, she's taken four national championships," Jake laughed, then winced as it moved something that shouldn't have moved. "Kyale Bulank is incredible."

"Does that mean you're game to meet her?" Tod Bermen asked from just outside the group.

"She wants to meet me?" Jake blinked up at him.

"After the fight you put up?" He grinned at his protégé. "You impressed her. I didn't even manage that."

"Most people don't manage to step on her head," Chance pointed out with a chuckle. "If she's not too busy recovering, I don't think Jake'd mind."

"Definitely not," Jake agreed. "I think I'll even manage to stand up for it."

"I don't think so," Rock glared at him with as firm an expression as he'd ever worn. "You just took a blow to the head that knocked you out for the better part of an hour. You are not exerting yourself early."

"She'll be in shortly," Tod chuckled. "Now that we know you're up to it."

"I'm not sure to be flattered or afraid," Rock deadpanned.

"Flattered," Jake grinned at him. "Definitely flattered. I may have made a splash on the circuit this year, but I'm hardly world class yet."

"Key word there is yet," Tod reminded him with a grin. "Give it a few years. You're already besting most of my records."

"Please don't try and convince him he could make a living at this," Rock glared at the detective and part-time MMA fighter that was coaching Jake.

"Wouldn't dream of it," Tod grinned, though his tone was honest. "Seriously, he's got far too much of a career in the Enforcers for me to try that."

"And more than a few folks threatening him life and limb if he does," a low, highly amused and heavily accented voice added from behind the chocolate brown tabby. "It might earn him points as a Master, but many of us would be highly annoyed to have to deal with you on a regular basis."

"I'm not that good," Jake reflexively denied his true skill.

"Clawson, you went three rounds and almost had me twice," the sleek black shekat pointed out sternly. "You nearly won on points in overtime. Do not demean my skill by denying your own."

"It's a bad habit of his," Chance smiled. "Give him time, he'll admit he's actually pretty good in a couple years. You're incredible," he told her sincerely.

"Thank you, Chance," she inclined her head to him. "Your skill as a pilot is nearly legendary."

"Thank you," he smiled. "Though I think you're here to meet him, not to trade compliments with me, so I'll get out of your way," he said, backing off to enjoy his drink while Jake had a chance to meet the fighter who'd just royally kicked his tail in front of a huge crowd.

"Thank you for an excellent fight," Kyale inclined her head to him. "Perhaps we can have a sparring match before I leave next month?"

"I'd love to," Jake grinned broadly.

"Just try not to knock each other out this time?" Rock asked his mate hopefully. "You don't know when to give up unless somebody reminds you to, and they don't have judges for sparring."

"Don't worry, I know how to spar," Jake leaned up to lick his nose playfully, only to settle back down with a low moan.

"As do I," Kyale assured him. "We will not injure each other this way when we spar."

"I just worry; somebody's got to keep an eye out for him when he's on the ground," Rock chuckled slightly.

"You are welcome to watch," she offered honestly. "I mean no ill towards him."

"We'll see when the time comes," Rock suggested. "I don't necessarily know what my schedule's going to look like ... or if he's going to decide I don't need to babysit him," he chuckled, scratching Jake's ears lightly.

"You mean I get a say in the matter?" Jake teased him.

"I will leave you to your recovery, Clawson," Kyale bowed to him. "When you feel well enough to indulge him, we will schedule time to spar," she said before walking away.

"Okay, I am impressed," Terin watched the battered black shekat walk away as if she was uninjured.

"I'm in shock," Jake murmured. "She's one of the top fighters in the world."

"You're exaggerating, at least a little," Terin told him. "She's not that renown yet."

"She will be," Jake said with utter certainty.

"Okay, okay, but how'd you like a leg up on her next time?" she grinned deviously.

"Depends," Jake regarded her warily.

"Come on, I haven't changed that much," she pretended to be in a huff. "My squad and a couple others are willing to train you how we fight."

"What are they getting out of it?" Jake asked, still suspicious.

"A rep like no other," she pointed out.

"A rep for training Jake, or a rep for having him on your squad?" Chance asked her evenly and got eyes rolled at him for it.

"A rep as a department," she told him. "If a gunner can fight like that, just what would folks think Special Ops could do?"

"Your call, Jake ... though it'd be handy for this, if nothing else," Chance offered. "Might even be useful day to day."

"It would be," Jake agreed, though he was still a bit suspicious.

"Come on guys, when have I ever done you wrong?" Terin asked plaintively, looking between all three of them. "We've been friends for years."

"You're right, but we've been hearing that SO wants to get their hands on Jake almost as long," Chance pointed out.

"They'd sure love it, but it's not what I care about," she reminded him. "I fought that werewolf with you when I was just a beat cop in training."

"In other words, don't hold my career choice against me," Jake nodded. "Sorry, Ter."

"It's okay," she settled down.

"Is the offer just for Jake?" Chance asked her curiously.

"Mainly, but I doubt anybody'd object to training you too," she smiled at him. "You do pretty well when it doesn't involve high flying kicks."

"Flying feet aren't my strong point," he chuckled. "If I'm not gonna get my tail handed to me every time we practice after this, I think I'd better join in, if you're willing."

"Sure," she grinned at him. "Glad you're both coming. I have to get going though. Good fight Jake. I'll still bet on you next time."

"So there's the ulterior motive," Chance snickered, catching a dirty look from Terin as she left. "It's certainly going to be interesting, once you're back on your feet."

"Definitely," Jake smiled slightly, then cautiously sat upright again. "Up for helping me to the car?" he glanced at his mate. "I'm ready to recover at home."

"And I'm ready to have you there," Rock smiled, helping him up and out with Chance's help.

Rock relaxed back, looking around their exquisitely decorated home done in modern style with erotic touches tastefully placed here and there thanks to Midnight's efforts to make it more than a bachelor pad for two. It still wasn't completely home, not in looks, but he could feel and smell himself and his mate everywhere and it was definitely starting to feel like it.

Besides, the extra space he had was worth it ... he'd never been able to afford a place like this on his own, and the fact that they were paying to own it instead of to rent it was making it feel like home faster than it would have otherwise.

As he heard the doorbell ring, he couldn't help but reflect that the neighbors were pretty nice too, though he wasn't sure why they'd be dropping over now ... not likely to be anybody else though. They weren't expecting any packages, and with Jake out sparring with Kyale, he knew it wasn't going to be somebody calling with bad news about Jake's patrol.

He opened the door and blinked in surprise, the reflexive 'hello' frozen in his throat as he recognized the pair of Wirehair Dachshunds grinning up at him.

"Hi Rock!" The twin Dachshunds said cheerfully.

"How've you been?" The male, Jordan Wexler, asked him with a grin.

"Pretty good," Rock smiled and stepped back. "Come in. We have a lot to catch up on."

"No kidding!" Jordan's sister agreed as they stepped inside, their long, thick tails wagging rapidly. "Looks like you've been doing pretty good for yourself since coming back here ... you finally find a Master or Mistress who could keep you happy, or is this all yours?" Henrietta asked him with a grin.

"Yes, no and no," he chuckled and headed for the kitchen. "I'm doing fairly well, my boyfriend is an Enforcer Gunner, so two-thirds of this is on his paycheck, though it's mostly his best friend that has the aesthetic touch. I'm the Master between us. What would you like to drink?"

"You have to ask?" Jordan chuckled.

"Right; Bloody Mary and a double whiskey sour," Rock chuckled.

"And if the Bloody Mary doesn't singe my fur, it's too weak," Henrietta grinned as Rock went to start mixing the drinks. "So, an Enforcer and a sub? Good find. Would he happen to be the delicious tom in the picture?" She asked, nodding towards the portrait. "I know that's your body in the background."

"It is, and he is," Rock glanced at the painting with a warm smile. "That's the moment we met, by the way. A friend of Jake's who knows his tastes convinced him to sit for a painting, and invited me to stand in for who he had a crush on at the time."

"Oh? You know who it was, or just the story?" Jordan asked curiously, sitting down comfortably.

"Oh, Kats, I had no idea what I was getting into," Rock laughed heartily as he took a seat nearby. "It's a story to tell, too," he grinned, a distinct fondness in his expression as his mind drifted back to that day. "It was almost five years ago, now. Hard to believe, sometimes.

"Tommy is an artist we both knew, though from very different circles. Anyway, the way he said it, he'd been trying to convince Jake to pose for a dom/sub picture for some time, and finally pulled it off with a promise that it would be demure enough to pass muster if his CO saw it and someone who looked like the guy he really wanted would play dom for it."

"Let me guess, it was a guy who was seriously unavailable," Henrietta shook her head a bit. "Not a new story there."

"The understatement of the decade," Rock nodded. "The guy he wanted couldn't fuck a tom if his life depended on it, quite literally I expect. Never mind one like Jake.

"It was a pretty simple pose, and what Tommy had said made me think Jake probably knew what he was doing, at least for someone his age. Then I got a look at him, when he was kneeling there.

"He was hungry for something he thought he knew the name for, but didn't," Rock's voice turned soft. "I could almost feel how badly he wanted to lean forward to suck me, but even more, I saw how he looked at the whip. It wasn't fear, or apprehension, or even incomprehension. It wasn't anything I should have seen in someone without a mark on him I could see. He wanted it, even more than he wanted me.

"He's into pain like I've never seen before. I've never been so glad for our time together than when I try to find a new way to push him. He's got a pain tolerance you wouldn't believe, and gets off on pain alone when he's not in a fight."

"Mmm ... he sounds very appealing," Henrietta rumbled, licking her lips as she took her drink from Rock after he spiked it with a shot of capsaicin oil. "Maybe we'll get the chance to meet him later?" She suggested with a grin.

"I expect so," he chuckled. "Though don't get your hopes up on having fun with him. He might not be monogamous, but he's very rarely willing to go for anyone else, and females just don't work for him."

"Pity," she mused, taking a sip of her drink and nodding approvingly as it burned down the back of her throat.

"Does he mind an audience?" Jordan asked with a grin.

"Very rarely," Rock purred back. "Usually quite enjoys it, as long as they keep their hands to themselves."

"Well, maybe we'll talk him into a show then," Jordan grinned. "Be good to see you in action," he winked. "See what you've done with those lessons we gave you."

"How long will you be in town?" Rock asked, thinking over various options if Jake was just too sore after another round in the ring with Kyale, even if it was more friendly.

"Oh, we plan on sticking around for a while," Henrietta smiled. "We're staying at the local temple, helping with a few special projects for them."

"Then I'm sure you can have a show or three," he licked his lips in anticipation of it. "Jake's sparring with the Kat who knocked him out cold in an MMA match last week, so he might not feel like too much when he gets home. I'm sure they're giving each other quite a beating and calling it practice."

"I'm sure," Jordan chuckled. "So many people who'd be excellent sadists are wasted on that hobby, I've always thought."

"Not the way Jake talks about it," Rock shook his head. "It's something completely different from what's for pleasure. It's about the challenge of going up against another expert."

"I'm sure he enjoys it though," Henrietta pointed out. "How do you feel about it though?" She asked Rock, cocking her head.

"Scares the hell out of me," he admitted quietly. "It's a lot like his job, though. I have to trust someone else to keep him safe. I don't like it, but I have to deal with it. It's part of who he is, and I knew all of it going in."

"True," Jordan nodded, sipping his drink. "Are you still going to Bastet's services?" He asked, changing from a subject he sensed wasn't a particularly comfortable one.

"I dropped out for a while, but after all that's happened, I'm going again," he nodded. "Doesn't always feel right, but ... They are real, and I can't think anything else now."

"Maybe you'd be more comfortable with the Lord and Lady?" Jordan offered. "You know you've always been welcome, here as well as in Sayden Bay, even if you only paid a visit once in a while," the Dachshund smiled.

"Maybe," Rock gave it real consideration. "She's just who I was raised with. Jake'd probably like it better if I went somewhere else too."

"Oh? He has issues with Bastet then?" Henrietta asked, sipping her drink. "We'd be more than willing to introduce you at the Temple, if you wanted ... both of you even," she offered with a smile. "We've moved up in the world a bit since you left Sayden Bay, they wouldn't have any problems with somebody we introduced."

"Yeah, he hates Her," he admitted. "Rather passionately at times. I think I'd like an introduction, though I'm sure Jake'll dig around the regs before accepting. He's still nervous about breaking them."

"We have people who know every Enforcer rule in the book by heart, Rock," Jordan chuckled. "And how to get around them, in most cases. Besides, an introduction wouldn't mean he had to join. What's his problem with Bastet, if you don't mind my asking?"

"What do you know about the Champions?" he watched them both for a reaction.

"A fair amount," Henrietta said, straightening up a bit from her relaxed pose on the couch. "The Lord and Lady are still looking for theirs, debating with Tamorl over some different candidates. He's connected to Bastet's then? Or is the Champion himself?"

"He's Her Champion," Rock admitted quietly. "Halikar's too. And he hates it like you wouldn't believe."

"That would tend to complicate things a little," Jordan murmured. "Though we might believe it ... he isn't the first to despise the role."

"Honestly, I can't much care who believes it," Rock told them quietly. "Or if it's the real truth. Someone who can bring him back from death is going to an awful lot of trouble to make it seem true, and Jake's believes it for his own reasons. It's like any other touchy subject. You don't bring it up unless you don't have a choice about it."

"Understood," Jordan nodded his acceptance. "We didn't mean to pry. How do you feel about it though?"

"You're asking that a lot," he chuckled weakly. "I wish it didn't bother him so much, 'cause it's been a blessing for me. He's come back, healthy and whole, from things that should have killed him. Flip side is that because he hates it, he doesn't take any more risks than he needs to. He's mellowing too, the longer we're together. I like to think it's because he's got something that makes him happy."

"You just haven't been on the receiving end of us in professional mode before," Jordan chuckled. "That's good, and you're probably right about why. So ... you don't have problem with the Champions as a whole?"

"The reason Jordan's trying to get you nailed down there," Henrietta chuckled, "is largely because ... well, as we said, the Lord and Lady are considering several candidates. We believe that you're one of them, and one of the better choices."

"No, I don't have a problem with them in general, except for the part where they're the only thing that can really kill Jake," Rock regarded them warily for the first time in a long time. "Why would I ever want to be one?"

"Well, for one thing, then you'd know at least one Champion who wouldn't kill Jake," Henrietta offered. "There are four real candidates, one of them in Sayden Bay who we've largely discounted ... she has the potential, but she lacks the other qualities that we'd want to see. The other two are both in MKC, and there's you. You ... you're a good person, Rock. Once a Champion is chosen, we will back them, support them. It will be our duty. But until then, we have a certain amount of choice in who we back, and we would prefer somebody who reflects the more socially acceptable face of pain and pleasure."

"Who are the others here?" he asked evenly, understanding the point they were making.

Henrietta and Jordan looked at each other, like they were considering how much to tell him.

"We would greatly prefer it if you didn't go looking for them," Jordan told him after a moment. "But one of them is Maxwell Steele, a brown-furred, fairly unexceptional artist who doesn't fully recognize his potential yet ... though there's an inkling of it there, he doesn't realize what it really is."

"And the other is Karetha Long," Henrietta continued, picking up where her twin left off. "You may be familiar with her?"

"A Margay female?" he asked and got a nod for it, then shuddered. "Yeah, I know of her. She's gotten kicked out of Warlords, among other places, for being too extreme. Word is she's killed a sub or two, but it's never been proven. Somebody I never want Jake anywhere near."

"Understandable," Jordan nodded. "You can see why we'd prefer you as a Champion than her. Whether or not the rumors are true - and we're not saying either way, we don't know - she isn't the sort of person you want to run the chance of becoming the face for your faith. However, she has a dedication to pain that is very nearly unrivalled, and thus she must be considered."

"In case you're wondering, we did recognize your potential when we first met you, but it's not the main reason we took an interest in you," Henrietta told him. "It was a very nice perk of having a very good lover," she smiled.

"Being able to enjoy both sides didn't hurt, I expect," he chuckled a bit. "So what do They expect of Their champion?"

"No, it didn't," Jordan grinned. "And that ... it's more difficult. The Lord and Lady aren't overly interested in how things turn out, so long as they don't lose out in the process. Tamorl is more aggressive, and they are all three likely to back the same Champion."

"The main expectation would be that you not throw your life away," Henrietta explained. "That you hold out through the largest parts of the contest. Beyond that ... there is far too much that is uncertain to be sure. You would have certain gifts, abilities, that would be yours to use as you chose to use them. I suspect that it wouldn't be unreasonable to guess that you'd use them to protect Jake?"

"Yes, I would," he nodded. "Is there anything to the champions game on our level beyond defeating other champions?"

"It's ... yes, and no," the Dachshund told him, finishing her drink. "For one thing, it varies, wildly, depending on the goals of the deity backing them. Jake is going to be expected to take a much more proactive role than you would be. By the way, there would be no problems with you protecting him. So long as, by the time the next Champions are chosen, you haven't fallen, the odds are that it will be acceptable. No matter who wins, the Lord and Lady are likely to do so as well. As such, you aren't going to be expected to, say, hunt down and defeat Dark Kat.

"However, we would appreciate it if you would be willing to take a more active role with the church ... not to become a priest, but to present a face for us, to make us more visible in an acceptable manner. Frankly, it would be nice to be able to take a place in the city similar to that Bastet and Halikar's priests have."

"I'm not sure pain will ever be as accepted as the Mother and Protector, but it would be nice to be better accepted, instead of just tolerated because the law requires it," Rock admitted. "Even after six years, Jake's still nervous about how close he might be to losing his commission over off-hours activities. He's not, but they got to him good when he enlisted."

"They tend to ... if the two of you wanted, we could try to see if some of the Enforcers in the temple might be able to get them to back off a little, but if he's known to be a Champion they're probably going to keep an eye on him anyways," Henrietta sighed. "At least they haven't tried to capitalize on it, if they do know."

"Oh, they know," Rock muttered. "You can thank Jake and a massive attitude problem when it comes to being treated differently. As subby and attention-shy as he usually is, he's got a hell of a backbone when you push the wrong way, and Feral's met it. I'm sure the rather frequent attempts to get him to transfer to Special Ops is all about his status as a Champion. Or at least that She won't let him stay dead."

"Yegh!" Jordan shuddered, shaking his head. "Well, that answers the question of just how public a role he's going to take. It's not going to be quiet, I'm sure."

"I'm half surprised it didn't make the news even up there," Rock chuckled without humor. "About four years ago, when that werewolf was torturing females to death, an Enforcer cadet was killed, and then they said the announcement was by mistake."

"We heard something about it; we were a little too busy trying to figure out if one of the MKC candidates might have been the werewolf to worry about the cadet," Henrietta admitted. "I understand it was eventually discovered that it was just a mage who didn't know what he was doing?"

"Yes, Jake's second-oldest friend no less. That dead-then-not-dead cadet was Jake," Rock explained. "He died in front of three other cadets and made it all the way to the morgue. It doesn't get more public than being the first cadet to be killed on duty in eighteen years, and then wake up in the morgue twelve hours after it made a special report. It was kept as quiet as possible, but that wasn't all that quiet, especially not among the Enforcers."

"Who know just how hard it is to make that kind of mistake," she nodded. "You must have been terrified, before he woke up."

"More angry and trying not to think about it," Rock said quietly. "Midnight knew all about what Bastet does to him. It wasn't the first time she said he wouldn't stay dead, just the first time I had to face it. Right then, I was more concerned about keeping his partner, my cousin Chance, from going over the deep end again. The terrified kicked in after the emergencies were over and he was sleeping in my arms. I don't think I stopped shaking for days."

"After he was safe, then you get scared," Jordan smiled, shaking his head. "That's ... very you."

"What good does it do to freak out during an emergency?" Rock raised an eyebrow, though there was something of a grin there too. "Maybe you should tell me a little more about Eshik and Marka, and what their church is about."

"Sure, though I think you could find out pretty well by asking your neighbors," Jordan chuckled, the two of them settling in to start giving Rock the run-down.

Jake bowed deeply to Kyale, his right arm tight across his chest, as they ended their final sparring session for the night. He was breathing hard, but feeling great. It was incredible to test himself like this, to not just learn, but to finally teach a skilled warrior something in exchange.

"Thank you for sparring with me," she said as she rose from her own bow of respect. "Do you have plans for lunch?"

"Not really," he admitted. "I'd been planning on making something when I got home, assuming I could stand up in the kitchen long enough," he chuckled.

"Care to join me at Su'Don, then?" she offered as they climbed out of the ring.

"Sure," he said easily. "Be good to try someplace new for once," he chuckled and walked with her to the changing rooms and a badly needed shower. "I've heard of it, but never been there."

"The food is reasonably authentic, spicy and fresh," she said as they paused at a pair of lockers they were using and stripped off the skive shorts they both wore in the match.

"Sounds like a place to take the gang to," he grinned and stripped off his matching skivvies, tossing them into his locker and walking into the open showers with her.

He turned the water on hot, and stepped under it with a groan of pleasure.

"Hot showers are a pleasure," Kyale smiled slightly as she wetted down her short fur.

"I've always thought so," he purred. "Especially after a workout like the one you gave me," he grinned over at her, appreciating the short, tightly muscled body that wasn't all that common in the city. It was nice to see someone else built like him; short, lean, fast and strong.

If she'd just been a tom, he'd have been seriously tempted. As it stood, she'd stand out in his mind as one of the more attractive examples of the female of the species for some time.

"Thank you," she smiled and used the excuse of soaking her back to get a good look at his body without the tension of a match in his muscles. "I have heard you are Bastet's chosen one of your generation?"

"Yes," Jake sighed in resignation as they finished cleaning up and turned the blowers on to dry off. "Where'd you hear about it?"

"Around," she shrugged. "I like to know who I'm going to fight, when I can. It was something I heard a few times."

"Well, it doesn't help in the ring, as you can see," he chuckled weakly. "I don't really like it getting around that much," he admitted, fluffing his fur out to help it dry.

"Why?" she glanced at him. "I have heard you do not like it. I do not know."

It took him a moment to place what she was asking, then he shrugged a bit.

"For one thing, I don't like the fact that She's in control of my life," he told her. "I never got a choice in it. Everybody thinks it's some sort of honor, but they don't have to live with it. They don't have to wake up every day and know that if something happens, Bastet's going to send them back, and keep doing it, until they jump through Her hoops. Whether they want Her to or not."

"It happens much?" She cocked her head at him.

"Not the part where I come back, but the part where she's screwing around with my life is almost constant," he muttered, shaking his fur out. "And then you've got her priests and priestesses, they just can't leave well enough alone."

"Do others bother you so greatly?" Kyale asked as they turned off the blowers and walked back to their lockers to dress for the public.

"Not really, but I'm not their Champion," Jake pointed out, pulling on jeans and an undershirt before buttoning up a medium green collared shirt. "They don't have a divine mandate to make sure I breed, among other things," he grumbled lowly.

"I can see how that could be most irritating," she nodded, her shorts and light gray T-shirt making her look much more casual than him. "What do you do, beyond fight MMA?"

"I'm an Enforcer gunner ... a lot of my time goes into keeping the Black Sun the top jet in the squadron," he grinned, finishing buttoning up his shirt. "Try to get some time to hang out with my friends, spend time with Rock ... occasionally kitten-sit for Chance and Midnight," he chuckled.

"A full life," Kyale smiled and walked with him as they left the dressing room and into the training spaces of the MMA complex, and the air rich with sweat, exertion and a touch of coppery blood.

"I like to think so," he smiled back. "You have a car, or do you want to navigate while I drive?"

"I usually run," she said. "I think I can direct a car."

"I'd run along with you, but then I'd have to come back for my car before I went home," Jake chuckled, directing her to the mid-sized car he and Rock shared. "I can probably get directions if we manage to get lost, so don't worry about it too much."

"Okay," she nodded and got in. "It is on the wharf."

"Gotcha," he nodded, climbing in and pulling out, making his way to the wharf, the smell of the sea and fish markets blending with the restaurants in the area to make a scent belonging uniquely to the area.

"Always an interesting part of town," he mused as they pulled up in front of the restaurant and found a parking spot with little difficulty. "It smells good too."

"Good," Kyale said as she got out, sniffing the air with a soft sound of longing.

"You miss home?" He guessed, following her inside the simply decorated building. Even at this early hour, there was a fair sized crowd and the food was plentiful. In the back, he could hear the splashing of fish and other seafood being caught from tanks and dispatched.

"Yes," she admitted as they stepped up to the front counter and paid for the meals. "It is nice to be treated as a valuable person without beating another. It is still home."

"Are you planning on going back after the championships?" He asked her curiously as they were told which table was theirs and went up to the large buffet to build a plate of spicy sautéed shrimp, whole fried fish, snake, seasoned worms, grubs, snails and grasshoppers and various vegetables cooked in every way possible on a base of thin rice noodles.

"No. I will continue to fight the circuit," she said, quite willingly helping herself to the more exotic offerings of insects and grubs.

Jake kept mostly to the more usual offerings, the shrimp, fish, and snake, but he couldn't help but think of what Zach would have thought of the place. Maybe if he ever came back to pay MKC a visit they'd stop by.

"So how long has it been since you've been able to take a vacation from the ring?"

"I do not," she told him simply as they walked over to the drinks selection. "I have fought competitively since I was six."

"Six?" He asked her, shock clear in his voice as he almost dropped the glass he was filling with milk.

"Yes," she nodded. "It is not unknown to start even younger. My father wanted a son to train. He settled for me after many years."

"Well, he got a Hell of a fighter out of 'settling,'" Jake told her respectfully. "I hope he came around to see that eventually?"

"Only in raising me as a boy. It worked until I began to have a fertile cycle," she said as they found their seats. "He held it at bay for many years with herbs and magic. By the time he no longer could, a recruiter for the MMA had found me and did not care if I was male or female. It was too late to help my father, but he did save me."

"Parents," Jake sighed, shaking his head. "At least you got out of there. Did you ever manage to patch things up?"

Kyale paused, then shook her head. "The village beheaded my father for teaching a female to fight. They would have beheaded me if they had captured me."

"He ... shit, I'm sorry," he murmured. "I didn't have any idea they were that...."

"Different," she offered him an alternative to the words she was sure he was trying not to say. "Things are very different back home. Some better, some worse, some are just different."

"Yeah," he nodded. "Have things changed any since you've left?"

"Legally, a small amount. Socially, I doubt it. Such changes take many generations."

"Yeah," he nodded. "Well ... at least you're out of it," he offered, not really sure what else to say.

"It is not so bad, Jake," she smiled at him. "It made me strong and gave me the skills to have a good life among the MMA. Have you ever traveled?"

"Some," he nodded as they started to eat. "Mostly to Karalanol; I have a few friends there."

"I have never met someone from Karalanol that I know of," Kyale mused. "How do they fight?"

"Depends on if she's in the air or back home," Jake chuckled. "Amanda's one of my squad mates. Generally, she fights with a spear or knife. Damned good too, though she doesn't fight in the ring most of the time."

"They fight to survive then, not just as an art?" she asked curiously between garlic-roasted giant grubs.

"They still live by the old ways," he explained. "They fight for defense, for hunting ... they haven't really gotten to the point of fixing it down as an art. If she learned to fight the way you can, it'd be used in battle within a year, I'm sure," he said seriously. "One of the reasons she's up here is to pick up some of our techniques, combat and otherwise, so she can take some of them back with her."

"Amanda is an important person in her land?" she asked, curious at the idea of an ancient way having a place for females as something other than kitten producers.

"Daughter of the chieftain," Jake grinned. "You know, she'd probably like you, if the two of you met. Would you be interested, some time?"

"Yes, I would," Kyale inclined her head. "Thank you. Your tastes are not as exotic as your moves would indicate."

"I guess not," he admitted, taking a bite of his own snake-meat and rice noodles. "I learn from everywhere ... eating is another story. I'm a little surprised there's enough market for the more unusual foods here to make it worth their while," he admitted.

"More than half of the MMA fighters I've met come from lands that eat insects of some kind," she pointed out. "Only the very richest lands can rely on animal meat."

"You've got a point," he admitted. "It's still pretty unusual around here ... even people who've immigrated tend to stick to animals and fish, most of the time."

"Because they can, I expect," Kyale said. "I do as well. When I can, a taste from home is still nice."

"I can understand that," he smiled. "Seems to be a common denominator with people who travel a lot."

"If you ever feel like trying a few things that probably won't taste all that strange, I can point out what is likely to go down easily," she offered honestly.

"Maybe some time," he chuckled. "For today though, I think I'll stick to the snake."

"As you wish," Kyale nodded. "Have you fought in the real world yet? You have the stance of someone who expects it to be real, at least some of the time."

"I have," he nodded, thinking back. "My first real fight was against a werewolf that was terrorizing the city a few years back. The biggest was helping Amanda's tribe against raiders. Now and then a perp forces it too, though I don't see many of those, being in the air most of the time."

Henrietta paused mid-sentence and looked at the door. "Rock dear, would you go let your boyfriend in, and possibly calm him down a bit?"

"Okay...." Rock got up and headed for the door, honestly not that surprised. She'd always had good ears ... though if Jake was upset about something enough that she knew it already, he had to wonder just what the Hell had happened.

"Jake?" He asked, opening the door just enough to see his boyfriend completely fluffed out, combat knife in hand and ready to rush into the room. "What the Hell?" he all but flung the door open.

"Who's in there?" Jake demanded, his tail lashing and fear on his scent.

"Henry and Jo ... Henrietta and Jordan, a couple of my friends from back in Sayden Bay." Suddenly it clicked, and he let out a tense breath as he realized what must have happened.

"They're priests, Jake, not from Bastet's temple either. Want to come in and meet them?" He offered, moving back out of the way slightly to let him see in more easily as Jordan leaned out where Jake could see and waved slightly.


"Hi," Jake answered, still uneasy, but he slid his knife back into his boot after walking in. "You were Rock's teachers," he said as he tried to settle his fur. "Sorry. A presence like yours is rarely good news for me."

"So we've gathered," Jordan nodded, standing up with Henrietta, both inclining their heads to him politely. "Jordan Eshik," he said, offering his hand to the lean tom. "And my sister, Henrietta Marka."

"What are you here for?" Jake asked after shaking hands. Despite his unease, he kept his tone polite.

"Mostly to catch up with Rock, partly to discuss a religious matter with him," Henrietta said, deciding that being wholly honest would probably be the best choice. "It's been years since we've had the chance to talk, and we were glad to hear he had such a handsome partner now," she smiled.

"Flattery will get you nowhere with him," Rock chuckled as he guided Jake to the couch and sat down, turning his attention to grooming what he could get to and relaxing adrenaline-tightened muscles while he was at it.

"They serve Eshik and Marka, the Lady and Lord of Pain's Pleasure," Rock added with a gentle kiss on Jake's cheek.

"We are the Master and Mistress of Sayden Bay's northern temple," Jordan nodded. "We're visiting the temple down here for a while. If you'd prefer, we could leave, and come back another time,"

"But we'd love to get to know you," Henrietta finished for her brother.

"Jake, they're good people," Rock drew him into a lingering kiss that managed to take his boyfriend's mind off everything for a moment.

"Mmm, and you like them," he chuckled softly. "Friends of yours are welcome here."

"Thank you," Rock smiled, hugging him close. "So, now that you're not worried that I'm about to be made off with, how'd it go?"

"She's pretty amazing," Jake smiled and snuggled against him. "Her upbringing puts my problems into real perspective. No one risked being beheaded by their neighbors over how I was raised."

"That's a fairly safe bet," Rock murmured, rubbing his side. "I'm still not counting on you and your mother making up though. Planning on seeing Kyale again?"

"I'm introducing her to Amanda in a few days," he chuckled. "While she's here, I plan to learn what I can from her."

"And what'll you do when you get good enough that they start telling you to go to other places for the fights?" Rock chuckled, nuzzling Jake's neck.

"It won't happen," Jake chuckled at the absurdity of it to him. "There will always be new fighters, and there is always someone better."

"I see what you meant about him being modest," Jordan chuckled. "You two are a good couple."

"Thank you," Rock grinned, scratching Jake's side lightly.

"I prefer to be realistic," Jake licked Rock's jaw affectionately. "No one will be the best forever. It's not how things work."

"Hardly being the best forever, but you're not even admitting that you can be the best for a while," Rock chuckled, returning the lick. "Don't worry about it. I'm just glad you had a good time, and came home in a condition to snuggle."

"We were only sparring, worrywart," Jake teased him. "I'm barely bruised."

"Rock does worrying very well, especially if it's about people he cares about," Henrietta smiled. "Would you like us to take a look at some of the bruises? We're both good healers."

"Comes with the territory," Jordan chuckled. "But if you're fine, don't worry about it, just making the offer."

"I'm fine," Jake said, though he smiled his thanks. "Last week it would have been most welcome."

"That was just after she beat him into the mat," Rock said dryly.

"That was a match," Jake added.

"I have yet to see much difference," Rock pointed out.

"The amount of blood and broken bones," Jake said. "Sparring leaves bruises, nothing more."

"Give it up, Rock," Jordan snickered. "Only way you'll talk him out of it is probably going to be to offer him a more enjoyable way to end up in that condition," he winked.

"It hasn't worked yet," Rock grumbled.

"You're getting better at trying, though," Jake purred with an affectionate kiss to the jaw. "Maybe when it's not part of my paycheck anymore you'll have better luck."

"You get paid for the matches?" Henrietta asked, cocking her head slightly. "Beyond the prize money?"

"No, no," Jake shook his head. "As an Enforcer. I have to stay in shape and ready to fight, even as a gunner."

"Ah, okay," she nodded. "That makes sense. Jake? Do you mind if we end up asking some questions that are usually fairly personal? Mostly about what you enjoy doing with Rock," she explained.

"It's not much of a secret," he said with only a touch of wariness.

"They mean it for the best, love," Rock promised, holding him close. "It won't be used against you."

"All right," Jake sighed, leaning into the contact. "Why do you want to know, anyway?"

"Well, we are priests of Eshik and Marik," Jordan explained. "Are you familiar with them, and their particular area?"

"I've heard a bit," Jake kind of shrugged. "Basically the patrons of S&M."

"Basically, yes," he nodded. "The masters of pain and pleasure, and the guardians of those who enjoy giving and receiving both. Beyond the simple fact that we're both into it, we like to get a feel for people who might be interested in the temple."

"Besides, it's always fun to hear what Rock gets up to," his sister grinned.

"Or you're just perverts with a good cover," Jake chuckled.

"I notice that you're not telling us not to ask though," Jordan winked.

"I said all right to the questions," Jake snorted. "What more invitation did you want?"

"So, just what part of it are you into? Whipping, beating, sharp objects, stranger stuff...?"

"Sharp pain," he said simply. "Whip, claws, bite, blades, capsicum, burns, electricity."

"Mmm ... and which of those do you indulge the most?" Jordan asked, a little taken aback by the abrupt hostility.

"That you actually do, and that you want to?" Henrietta asked with a grin, trying hard to keep up the good humor and lightness when the one they were talking to didn't welcome their interest in him.

"We do claws, capsicum, electricity," Jake answered simply, giving nothing he wasn't directly asked for. "That I want to do, Tamorl's Rebirth ceremony."

"Jake ... if you're not comfortable talking to us, just say so," Jordan told him after a moment. "We don't really want to push you, and to be honest, we weren't hoping to meet you as priests today ... it just seemed like a good idea to let you know, once we found out you'd had problems with them."

"Yes, I do, and I don't want to talk to any of your kind," Jake told them bluntly. "It's on Rock's word of your intentions that you weren't shown my knife when I got home. I'll answer your questions, but I'm never going to like you."

"Jake," Rock started.

"It's all right, Rock," Jordan told him, shaking his head. "I can understand not wanting to talk about it, especially since he hasn't had the chance to get to know us outside of being priests, the way you did. Whatever it is that Bastet and her priests have done to you, to earn your enmity, I am sorry for it."

"If you would like, we can leave," Henrietta offered. "No hard feelings, and I'm sorry that we've intruded into your home. It wasn't our intention."

"I know," Jake settled, something close to an apologetic look on his face. "Next time, maybe Rock can visit you?"

"That would probably be for the best," Jordan nodded slightly, standing up along with his sister, pulling a card out of his wallet. "Give us a call at the temple some time; we've got the local number on the back, we'll set up a time to meet," he said, handing the card to Rock.

He was glad they hadn't mentioned Rock's potential as a Champion already. He wasn't sure he wanted to find out how Jake would have responded to that. He couldn't recall anyone having more of an issue with him being a priest than with who he was a priest of.

"I will," Rock promised and showed them to the door. "It's not about you guys, or Eshik and Marik or even anything you said. Divine power has never meant good things to him, no matter the package or wording," he said, his voice low. "I'll work on him, but don't expect miracles overnight."

"We don't," Jordan reassured him, reaching up to squeeze his shoulder. "Don't worry about it; we've had nastier conversations than that and come out of them just fine," he smiled, before the two of them started out for their car.

Rock closed and locked the door, turning back to Jake ... he really didn't know what to say. On the one hand, he understood Jake's hostility; given his issues with Bastet, he shouldn't have been that surprised. On the other hand ... they were his friends, dammit, and they hadn't done anything.

It added another wrinkle to the question they'd had for him too. What the Hell would he do if he did end up becoming the Champion they chose, and Jake couldn't take it?

"Sorry I didn't call the gym and warn you we were going to have company," he decided on finally. "Didn't expect them myself, really."

"I spent the last couple hours over seafood and snake with Kyale," Jake sighed. "Sorry, I know they're your friends."

"Wouldn't've helped then," Rock murmured, sitting down next to Jake and rubbing his side. "And yeah, they are ... they'll live though, they were right about that. So ... was it just them being priests, or something they said?"

"They're strong priests," Jake murmured and snuggled close, his body trembling ever so slightly. "They ... it ... scares me," he admitted very faintly.

"Yeah, they are," Rock nodded slightly, holding Jake close. "They don't want to scare you, if it helps any ... think Henry likes you," he chuckled. "She knows you don't go for fems though, so you don't have to worry about that angle."

"It doesn't help," he said quietly. "I don't mind you talking to them, or sleeping with them, or whatever," Jake closed his eyes and rested his head on Rock's shoulder. "Pretty sure you can answer whatever they want to know as well as I can, with less tension."

"Honestly ... they probably won't have too many questions," Rock murmured. "Jake ... promise not to freak, with what I tell you next?" He asked him hopefully. "It's nothing bad, they didn't do anything wrong ... it's just something that could be touchy."

"I wish I could say I'm surprised," he sighed and tried to relax against his boyfriend. "I promise I will not freak out, no matter what it is."

"They told me that the Gods of Pain haven't yet chosen a Champion," Rock told him quietly. "They've got four people, between Sayden Bay and MKC, that they're considering, and I'm one of them. They are giving me a choice about it, at least," he offered. "I have the feeling that if I tell them no, I won't hear about it again. Not from them, anyways."

"And the reason you're even considering it is?" Jake looked up at him, a sick knot in his stomach.

"It'd be one less person who could really hurt you," Rock told him softly. "And one of the other candidates ... if what I've heard is true, she's a grade-A headcase, and there's no way to prove it. Mostly the first one there."

"Rock ... you know that if you accept, and anything goes really wrong, it'll kill me for real, for good," he looked up with worry on his face.

"I'm not sure if I will accept," Rock told him, kissing his cheek gently. "And besides, if I accept, that's not necessarily proof that I'll be the one who gets the job anyways, I don't think. It'll be a mark in my favor, but there are at least two others who've got a good shot at it in this city alone."

Jake nodded and stretched up to claim a real kiss. "Thanks for the warning, love," he murmured. "It's more than we usually get."

"Yeah ... don't worry, I haven't promised anything," Rock murmured, wrapping his arms around him and holding him close. "Haven't even agreed to anything more than meeting the others at the Temple. So ... want to relax a bit?"

"Yes," Jake smiled and squirmed into his lap to claim a full-on kiss while nimble fingers unbuckled Rock's belt. "Until neither of us can move anymore," he added with a lusty rumble.

"Simple, or more complicated?" Rock grinned. "For some strange reason, I think I'm leaning towards complicated today," he winked.

"And tape it for your friends?" Jake raised an eyebrow with a grin. "How about a challenge? See just how many kinks of mine we can work in before I can't take anymore."

"Hey, if you're up for taping it, works for me," Rock purred. "I'll just have to remember you've got work in a day or two," he teased lightly.

"Mmm, yes," he licked his whiskers and slid his hand inside Rock's unzipped pants to rub his full sheath. "There is still plenty we can do."

"Oh yeah," Rock grinned, kissing him and reaching down to undo Jake's pants. "Mmm ... maybe I'll invite the neighbors over to watch too," he teased, squeezing his rump. "Let them handle the camera," he winked.

"You won't hear me object," he moaned and arched up to press against his lover's chest as his breath quickened.

Rock made short work of undressing his lover, rubbing his sides and back, claws tracing along his sides lightly as they made out.

"Go pull the hooks down, I'll grab the toys," he grinned, licking Jake's nose playfully when the smaller tom whimpered at the loss of contact.

It took a moment for the words to register, but he reluctantly slid off his lover's lap and walked to their bedroom to set the wrist hook and ankle straps up, then turned to watch Rock pick out quite a selection of his favorite toys for the evening.

The ones he'd been expecting were out first; the needle-lined cock ring, the slender metal rod to slide down into his shaft once he was hard, the declawed hellcat they'd gotten after Kathie had demonstrated just how thoroughly it got him off ... really, most of them were suggestions she'd made for them and took care to be sure they knew how to use them to best effect for the least damage.

The cuffs came out next, along with the blindfold, and Rock walked over to bind his naked lover, his hands above his head, his eyes covered as Rock walked around him, clawing his back and sides lightly, tracing furrows through his cinnamon fur.

"Ohhh," Jake moaned and pressed into the contact, his muscles rippling as his tail curled to the side to expose his ass.

"Wait here," Rock purred, leaving him alone and heading out the front door, presumably to get their neighbors.

He would chain him up first, with nothing in him or on him to keep his mind from what was coming. Hopefully it wouldn't take long to get them to come over, if they were going to.

Jake squirmed a bit, thinking about what he'd seen come out. If Rock didn't get back soon, the cockring wouldn't go on; he'd be far too hard for it. He whimpered softly at that thought, of losing out on the tiny needles piercing his most sensitive skin.

The door opened and closed a few moments later, and he could smell the two males and Jaguarundi fem from across the hall. With them were three much less familiar scents; a Wolf bitch, her male, and another female Kat.

"Well, he certainly looks good," Joe rumbled deeply.

"He'll look better soon," Rock grinned, and Jake was glad to feel the cockring going on, just in time to keep him from getting too hard for it. It was enough to make Jake whimper, his body responding to the tiny, sharp pain with a surge of arousal. "We've got a camera over there; you guys get it running?" He suggested, nuzzling Jake's neck from behind.

"Sure thing," Shanisha purred deeply and quickly moved to take charge of the device.

"Who else is here?" Jake asked with a trembling moan as Rock's had tightened around his balls, squeezing them.

"Martina and Randal Queensblood, and her pet, Judie Feral," Rock told him just before claiming his mouth in a kiss that melted all resistance to anything.

"He promised quite a show," Martina's strong voice rumbled, openly eager for the display of pain and blood that was to come.

"So, how do you want to start?" Rock asked Jake with a low rumble, enjoying the way his lover trembled in anticipation. "The whip, shocks, claws, or burns?" He licked Jake's neck, running his claws up his tender sheath, tracing the old scar up his cock before playing a claw along the spongy cone at the top.

"Anything," Jake cried out when Rock made a tiny pinprick in his cock's head with a claw. "Anything, Master."

"Then why don't we start by prettying you up, hmm?" Rock grinned, nipping his shoulder lightly and hooking a claw through one of his barbs. He purred deeply at the way Jake thrust his hips forward into his hand and the whimpering sounds of approval.

A few more piercings, and he moved around, licking the blood and pre-cum from Jake's quivering, rock-hard cock before fetching a length of fine gold chain, starting to thread it through the small holes he'd made, encircling the lean tom's shaft and going down to the top of his sheath.

"Definitely pretty," Shanisha purred deeply and watched in fascination of just how Jake reacted to pure pain.

"Hot too," Judie purred. "Damn he likes that."

"I haven't even gotten started yet," Rock grinned, leaving the chains around Jake's shaft as he stood, licking Jake's nipples, coaxing them to hardness before piercing them with his claws and hooking a pair of small loops through.

"Tease," Jake whimpered with a shudder.

"Oh, he's not teasing yet," Randall chuckled. "Not if I'm right about what he has in mind."

"And what do you think I have in mind?" Rock asked, nuzzling Jake's collarbone as he string some more of the chain between the piercings.

"Have you ever tried doing more than just putting the piercings in for him?" The male Wolf grinned.

"Oh, I think I get the idea now," Rock rumbled deeply. A moment passed, then he hung something from the chain, making it tug at Jake's pierced nipples and making the lean tom pant slightly.

"Simple, but a nice show," Rock stepped back to consider his work and nodded before going to the Kat-cock dildo and spread a thin layer of gel on it. "For the audience, this emits an electric shock at random intervals."

"Sounds like fun," Mike grinned.

"Oh it is... especially for him," Rock grinned, pressing the dildo up into Jake's ass, leaving the switch off as he made sure the tip was seated up against his prostate. "Ready, pet?"

"Always," Jake shivered, both in anticipation and the pleasure of being filled.

Rock flipped the switch, letting the first jolt rip through Jake's ass and prostate with a crack that was still barely audible outside of his body. The effect was instant and obvious as Jake stiffened and cried out, a sound nearly desperate in his need to come from the raw pain already inflicted on him.

His shaft twitched and oozed blood, the cock-ring keeping him from actually getting the release he wanted so badly. Rock worked the dildo in and out of him, the electrode-barbs occasionally sparking inside his body as they went off in random places and at random times.

"Do you want to come, pet?" Rock purred, nipping at his throat as the needles dug into his rigid member. "Or do you want to keep going until you don't have a choice?"

"No choice," Jake managed to gasp out, his entire body trembling in need.

Rock thrust the dildo up deep into his ass, the bulge at the end the only thing keeping it from disappearing into him entirely as he bit down on Jake's scruff roughly, tugging at it, rubbing his own shaft against his rump.

Each spark that went into Jake's body drew another delicious cry and harder trembling, but he held it back, wanting more before he gave into the intense burning pleasure.

"Being difficult tonight, are we?" Rock rumbled around his scruff as the dildo was thrust in and out roughly. "Joe."

"Yes, sir," the male Jaguarundi nodded and stood. While Rock continued the punishing pace with the dildo, he took the slender metal rod and dipped it in the capsicum oil. "Still a minute, 'k?"

Rock held still now, leaving the dildo in Jake's ass, reaching around to grip his cock and hold it still for the other tom.

Jake whimpered, wondering what was about to happen with his body held so still.

Joe licked his whiskers and slid the tip of the rod up Jake's cock, leaving a trail of chemical fire on the sensitive flesh. It was quite enough to make Jake sob at how badly his body rebelled at being held back.

"Don't stand directly in front of him when it goes in; it can come out like a rocket," Rock grinned down at the Jaguarundi as he ran it around the very tip of Jake's throbbing, dripping cock.

"Please," Jake begged, almost desperate for the incredible pain and sensations of the capsicum oil and rod inside his urethra.

There was a pause, the rod leaving Jake's shaft for a moment. He didn't know what was up ... then the metal rod pressed up against the slit in his tip, and the raw, burning pain that flooded his nerves told him exactly what the delay had been. Joe had dipped it in the oil again, giving him a full-strength shot of liquid pain straight to his nerves.

It was all Jake could do to hold back for a few seconds, to give the rod and oil time to set off every nerve in his body. He drew a gasping sob, then screamed as Rock pulled the dildo almost completely out of his ass and shoved it back in, right into his prostate with a full charge of the shock.

Joe had just a half a moment to duck before Jake's cock spasmed, spraying cum out from behind the rod as it shot across the room. Mike yelped as it hit him, and Rock purred as he worked the sparking dildo against Jake's prostate until he was completely spent, hanging limply by his wrists as his body twitched.

"You have a real prize there," Martina rumbled deep in her chest. "To be so into pain ... it's amazing."

"I'd push him farther, but his job gets in the way," Rock rumbled, nuzzling Jake's neck and pulling the dildo out of him, turning it off. "You want your ass filled, don't you?" He crooned into Jake's ear, reaching around to lightly claw his pubes.

"Yes," Jake gasped out as he struggled to stand on his feet with mixed success. "Take me."

"In a bit," Rock rumbled hotly, reaching down to stroke his bloody cock, rubbing the chains against his member.

He reached up, undoing the cuffs, keeping Jake from falling to the floor completely as he helped him down onto his hands and knees, the weight swinging down low, tugging at his nipples and drawing a groan from the prone tom.

It didn't take long for Jake to sink forward, leaving his rump up but most of his weight on his chest against the floor.

Rock opened up the drink cabinet, pulling out the heavily cut capsaicin he used for milder drinks and taking the top off. He raised Jake's tail, dribbling a bit of the liquid into Jake's stretched out ass, letting it burn its way up his insides.

"Mind if I borrow Mike for a bit?" He asked the two Jaguarundis with a grin as Jake whimpered and squirmed.

"Not at all," the pair grinned back even as the Cocker Spaniel stood, his short tail wagging quickly as he waited for instructions.

"Suck him off, while I take him," Rock purred deeply, gripping Jake's hips and rubbing his cock against his ass, enjoying the hint of tingling heat from the liquid still around Jake's pucker. "Do a good job of making him appreciate those chains, and I'll see about a special reward for you," he winked, then groaned as he sank himself into Jake's burning ass. There was just enough capsicum left there to give a bite to it along with the tight pleasure.

"Let me under," Mike nudged the side of Jake's muzzle. "It'll be worth the effort," he promised, helping the exhausted tom to lift himself up by his arms and squirmed under him, letting most of Jake's weight rest on his back as he nuzzled the still-hard cock, making the fine chains tinkle against each other.

Rock reached up, running his claws down Jake's back as he started thrusting slowly, savoring the feel of his mate's body around his, Mike holding himself so that the weight between Jake's nipples was still free to swing, tugging at them with every movement.

Soon Jake moaned deeply, his body moving and tightening in time with the thrusts as Mike slowly engulfed his cock in his mouth and began to work the fine chains with his spongy tongue.

Rock sank his claws into Jake's back slightly, blood oozing through his fur as he shifted to hit his prostate, pushing him forward into the Cocker Spaniel's mouth. Mike pressed the chains against his shaft, rubbing them against the sensitive flesh there as he suckled and licked at Jake's member, his tail wagging hard and fast.

"Oh yeah," Jake arched into the pain eagerly, his body tightening around Rock's cock as he began to thrust into Mike's mouth more willingly.

Rock growled lowly, his balls starting to twitch as he fucked Jake hard and fast, sinking his claws deeper into his shoulders. Finally, he roared, pumping a thick, hot load of his seed deep into Jake's ass.

"More," Jake moaned when Rock stilled to catch his breath.

"Mmm ... in a bit," Rock grinned down, pulling out of him, semen dripping down his balls. "Mike? I should be good enough not to get you, but do you or your Masters want me to be certain I don't?" He asked, picking up the declawed hellcat that had gone unused up to this point.

"Try your best not to," Shanisha said. "Pain isn't his thing, just subbing."

"Promise then," Rock nodded with a grin, limbering up the whip and bringing it down across the fresh cuts in Jake's back.

The yelping cry turned into a deep moan as Jake lifted himself up to give Rock a straighter target and put his back further away from the hungry canine sucking his cock, using the fine chains attached to it to very good effect.

Rock reached up, taking the blindfold off of Jake, letting him see their audience of five, Shanisa still using the camera, and Judie was pressed between her two Masters, only manners keeping the two Wolves from enjoying their pet along with the show.

Rock promptly got his attention back, bringing the multi-thonged whip across his ass, blood seeping from the shallow cuts the studs on its length left in his hide.

"Ohhhh!" Jake thrust his hips forward, nearly choking his eager Cocker Spaniel for a moment before drawing back with a shudder at the combined effects of pleasure on one side and pain on the other. "Love that thing."

"I know you do," Rock purred, the next hit curling around to catch Jake's stomach, just a few inches above Mike's head. "How much longer do you think you can hold out?" He grinned, aiming the next blow below Jake's tail, the thongs of the whip twisting around his firm buttocks, clipping the nerve-dense flesh he's just stretched out so well.

Jake whimpered, his cock jumping in Mike's mouth.

"Up," the lean tom ordered, tugging on Mike's shoulders. The Spaniel was startled, but did as he was told, pulling back and looking up at Jake. "Just support," Jake got out before he cried out from the next strike across his back, his body trembling at just the edge of an orgasm he was tried to hold back.

Mike took Jake's arms over his shoulders, scratching at his bloody back lightly with his blunt claws, licking his neck as Rock took the whip low again, up between Jake's legs to cut into the tender flesh behind his balls.

It was all Jake could take and he roared, his hips jerking up as his balls gave their all, splashing his seed all over Mike's chest.

Mike yurred softly, nuzzling Jake's neck as he was splashed, Rock finally putting the whip down and licking one of his lover's cuts.

"Any other toys?" Jake panted, clearly spent but game for more if it was on offer.

"Yes, but you have to go back to work in two days," Rock had to laugh before he kissed him soundly. "I'll string you up in the shower, just no more damage for a few days."

"Deal," Jake relaxed into the contact, oblivious to his audience, or even the Kantin sitting in front of him with his seed oozing down his front.

Rock purred, helping him up and starting back for the shower.

"Hope you guys all liked the show," he grinned back at them. "Leave the tape; Mike, we'll talk over your reward once he's lucid again, but I've got a couple ideas I think you'll love."

"I don't doubt it," Mike grinned and stood. "Need any help cleaning him up? I am a full time paramedic."

"No thanks," Rock grinned back. "I'll keep it in mind if things ever get more serious though," he added seriously, before getting Jake out of the bedroom and into the large shower they made such good use of while their guests found their own way out.

Chance panted, sucking air into his lungs as his body shook uncontrollably. Midnight was below him, her slender legs wrapped around his. He knew her body was squeezing down around him, but he could barely feel it, her body was so full of their juices.

Even after years together, kittens together, it still amazed him at times what her scent and body could do to him. She'd been a lovely, tiny thing with something of a chest when they met. Now, she had an incredible chest, a real curve on her hips, and was still tiny and delicate everywhere else.

"Love you," she purred and nuzzled him affectionately.

"Love you too," he panted, holding her close as they snuggled and enjoyed the afterglow. "Damn you're hot."

"I've never felt like this with anyone else," she purred, running a hand down his side. "Have you thought about my next heat?"

"Mmm ... some," he rumbled. "Are you sure you want another litter this soon? Especially if they turn out to be trip's again?" He chuckled.

"Ah, baby, I love being pregnant, and having kittens," she purred deeply. "I'd have them every time, if we could afford it."

"Well, I definitely think we can handle another litter," he purred, rubbing her back as she snuggled against him happily. "Your folks didn't know what they were in for when they let you marry a Furlong," he chuckled, kissing her tenderly.

"No, but I did," she smiled and nuzzled him. "Schedule the time off in six weeks then."

"I'll see what I can do," he chuckled. "Mmm ... so, how big a litter do you think we'll have this time? And just how many do you plan to stop after?" He added, scratching her side playfully. "You can only feed so many at once, you know," he teased.

"This litter will be weaned by the time I conceive the next," she giggled. "I'll stop when I need to, or you want to. My family tends towards small litters, so two or three are most likely, given we got three my first time."

"I'll hope you're right," he chuckled. "I don't know if you're up to five or six," he teased, rubbing her belly tenderly.

"They'd weigh more than me, I think," she laughed lightly, then her ears flicked. "Heather wants attention," she murmured and kissed them as they reluctantly separated. "At least she waited this time."

"Better than last time," he purred, kissing her back before she got up to pull on her nightgown. "Though sometimes I think you're psychic about those kits; I couldn't hear a thing."

"I'm their mother," she smiled knowingly at him before she slipped from the room.

Terin grinned as Chance and Jake came into the Special Forces training gym, her short tail flicking happily to see them and most of her short, tawny, spotted fur on display with only a muscle shirt and shorts to cover her.

"So, you guys didn't chicken out," she grinned. "Good to see you; we've got the best around to put your tails on the mat tonight. Captains Sharten and both Killhearts are in."

"You'll need the best," Jake grinned cheekily back.

"Pff - confident, aren't you?" the wiry Serval smirked. "How 'bout you, Chance?"

"What about me?" the tabby chuckled. "Ready to join in, and smart enough to know I'm not gonna beat anybody while I'm following the rules, so I'm not worried about it."

"Oh, so now you're following the rules?" She grinned. "Feral must've put the scare in you."

"Huh?" He asked, cocking his head and trying to figure out what she was talking about.

"Oh c'mon, we've all heard about it. Spending your next night off on deathwatch? Whatever you did to piss Feral off, I hope you enjoyed it."

"Chance?" Jake looked over at his partner with a raised eyebrow. "How'd you manage that without me?"

"Eh, don't ask," Chance grumbled. "Remember that day I spent in and out of Feral's office a couple weeks ago?"

"Yeah," Jake looked at him funny, then shook his head. "All right."

"So what happened?" Terin pressed. "He catch you with his niece or something?"

"Terin, don't," Chance told her seriously. "It's nothing big, okay? I'll lose a night off, watch that bastard swing, and Feral'll be happy. C'mon, we came here to train, right?"

"Uhm ... right," Terin said dubiously, startled by Chance's reluctance to talk about it. "Let's get going."

"So how is training going to start?" Jake asked to change the subject.

"By a two on one match with us," A powerfully built tri-colored shewolf told him, glaring down at the flyboys with an even larger black male at her side.

"The Captains Killheart," Terin supplied. "She's Hala, he's Xax."

"Whoa," Chance murmured, looking up at the two Kantin. "So uh ... who's got the two, and who's got the one?" he half-joked.

"Clawson against us," Hala said evenly. "You're up against Mirix," she nodded towards a smaller male Wolf with white fur, a black chest and crystal blue eyes.

"Just remember Jake, you've got to stop while you can still fly this time," Chance murmured, turning to look at the Wolf he was supposed to fight, still taller than him by almost a full head and build like a brick, but a much better match than the two Alphas.

"I'll remember," he nodded and sized up his opponents.

"So will we," Hala added. "We have watched many of your MMA matches."

"I'd be disappointed if you hadn't," Jake cracked a grin at her and turned to the central circle in the mat floor for matches.

"Hold up, we're going to watch your partner first," Hala told them.

"Thanks," Chance chuckled slightly. Now that he could size up the Wolf a bit better, he was a bit more confident. He was pretty sure he'd still get his tail handed to him - he was going to be fighting somebody from Special Ops, after all - but he was reasonably sure he could keep from embarrassing himself entirely now.

"She's not out to embarrass you," Mirix chuckled low in his throat as they took to the mat. "Neither am I. We're just trying to get a feel for your strengths, weaknesses and natural style. I understand you are a street-trained wrestler?"

"Wrestler, boxer, bit of both," Chance explained. "The 'whatever works that doesn't get you killed' school of fighting," he added.

"It's a good place to start," Mirix nodded. "Ground rules: no eye, throat or groin strikes, at least not until we both know you're good enough not to do real damage when you spar."

"Anything else?" Chance asked him, rolling his shoulders and stretching out his muscles, getting ready for the fight.

"Nope," the black-chested white Wolf grinned and dropped into a balanced defensive stance. "We don't believe that there are rules on the street."

"Not that I ever noticed," Chance agreed, shifting into his own stance, keeping his eyes on his opponent, getting a feel for the role he was supposed to take for now. They circled for a few moments, Mirix holding a defensive stance as they gauged each other.

It wasn't long before Chance moved in for the attack, staying as light on his feet as he could so he could try and stay clear of any of Mirix's attacks. He was keeping especially close watch on his feet, knowing that the fighters here knew he had problems with kicks.

His first punch met thin air, and before he could blink he was flat on his back, staring up at a shadow as Mirix stepped back.

He twisted to his feet, tail swishing behind him as he tried to figure out what had just happened, so he could keep it from happening again. The Wolf couldn't be that much faster than he was.

At least he didn't think he'd lost that much of his skill.

He only just saw the punch coming at him as Mirix took to the offensive and closed on him fast.

He twisted back, throwing an arm up to deflect the blow, his other fist shooting forward to meet the Wolf. He felt the punch catch him; he hadn't managed to block it, but twisting back had kept it from hitting with its full force. His own punch clipped Mirix's shoulder, but it was a glancing blow at best.

At least he was making contact now.

He tried to keep his breath in as a blow caught his midsection when he moved away from the one headed for his face.

He twisted again, spinning this time and bringing his arm around in a backhanded blow that hit only air as he was taken down to the mat again with a grunt.

Damn this guy was fast!

Chance got to his feet again, passingly grateful that this wasn't a real fight. If Mirix hadn't backed off after each takedown, he'd be hurting bad right now. They circled each other briefly before the Wolf closed in on him again, this time to grapple in a test of strength.

This, Chance was good at. He caught the Wolf, grabbing hold of him and pulling him close enough that he'd have to take them both down to drop Chance.

He didn't doubt that Mirix would be willing to do it, but he was actually hoping he would. If he could get it down to a matter of strength, he'd have a chance. He could already feel that he had a minor weight and definite strength edge, but he was sure his opponent held the lead for skill and probably for sense of balance.

Chance's eyes went wide at the abrupt appearance of sharp teeth and powerful jaws open right in front of him.

Without thinking about it, he ducked his head, bringing it up under Mirix's jaw to slam it shut the only way he could without losing his grip. He got a grunt of surprise for his efforts, and he was fairly sure a sound of approval from the sidelines somewhere.

A click of a tongue came from there as well, and Mirix shifted from just trying to push Chance around to a twisting sweep to take them to the ground.

Chance grunted as he hit the ground, but quickly pushed up, twisting to try and get on top of the Wolf, putting all his weight into the shove and every advantage he knew he had to pin the squirming, struggling Wolf down and keep him there.

His body was straining to keep up when Mirix made a surprise twist and got a leg loose. Suddenly Chance felt a strong paw under his midsection just before it kicked up and out.

It wasn't full strength, the position wouldn't allow it, but it was enough to knock the wind partially out of him when he landed on his tail. He barely had time to blink before Mirix was on him, trying to pin him.

He was trying to suck in air enough to breathe, to keep fighting, but it wasn't easy. The only thing that was keeping him from admitting he was beaten was sheer stubbornness, something he had in spades.

"Kiet!" Hala called out sharply, causing Mirix to let go and straightened up.

"Good fight there, Furlong," the white-chested black Wolf said and offered him a hand up.

"Thanks," Chance panted, standing up and giving a respectful bow to his opponent. "Glad you weren't really trying to take me out," he half-grinned.

Mirix cracked a wicked grin before they walked out of the circle. "Just wait until you see what the Alphas do to your partner."

"I'm trying not to think about it too hard," Chance admitted as they got clear, Jake following the two Alphas to the mat. "Any idea why they're going for two on one?"

"Because they know very well how he hands one on one," Mirix chuckled. "His Mixed Martial Arts matches are quite well recorded, you know."

"True," Chance conceded as Jake settled into a defensive stance in the center of the mat with a Wolf in front of him and a Wolf behind him. "Well, let's see how it goes."

Jake was a lot more cautious this way. He was trying to keep his attention split between the two of them, and that put an entirely new angle on things than Chance usually saw in a match or in a fight. He wasn't sure just how he was going to handle it, honestly, and this side of Jake's fighting was all new.

Hala moved first with a fast rush that would take most opponents down under her hard mass, or squarely into the bigger mass beyond.

Jake ... he went straight up, angling to come down on her head if she didn't alter course.

She did, of course, twisting out of the way and wheeling around to face him when he landed, swinging at him to try and catch him between her and her mate.

"I don't think he does fighting on the ground," Chance mused and watched as the two Wolves shifted around, working Jake with a skill of a lifetime of hunting together as they traded blows that rarely hit.

Xax mad a sudden lunge at almost the same moment as Hala, only this time when Jake leapt up and out of the way, Xax was ready for it and lunged up himself.

The Wolf clamped his jaws down around Jake's right arm and wrapped his arms around his body, pulling them both down to the mat with a heavy thump that left both a bit stunned.

For Xax, it wasn't much of a loss, but for Jake, by the time he'd caught his breath and oriented himself, Hala had him pinned down with her jaws on his throat, her powerful legs pinning his and one hand splayed out in a threat to his groin.

"Shit," Chance swore under his breath, both in surprise at seeing the two Wolves react the way they had, and in concern that Jake might not realize he should surrender here.

He was pretty sure he would ... Jake wasn't stupid, and this wasn't a match or the real thing ... but he was unpredictable at the same time when he got it in his head to win.

"It's called team tactics," Mirix said with a grin as Jake relaxed in surrender. "Something Kats aren't as good at as we are."

"You do realize you're talking to a pilot and his gunner, right?" Chance asked him with a bit of a chuckle. "We get teams."

"But do you get sacrificing for the team?" Mirix raised an eyebrow as Hala helped Jake up. "A few do, but not many Kats do."

"When survival's on the line? Yes," Chance said seriously. "I do, anyways. A bit more common where I come from. Think Jake does too, if it came up."

"Hard for an immortal to sacrifice much of importance," Mirix said in a mixed tone.

"You don't know what he does for his friends," Chance shrugged, trying hard not to get into an argument with this Wolf.

"Don't knock Jake just because of what he can do, Mirix," Terin agreed, walking over. "And remember, Wolves aren't the only ones who make damned good teams. Bet those two together could take any three of your pack if they had to, maybe four."

"Just don't ask for it," Chance said uneasily, his mind flashing back to when he had seen Jake in action and how bloody it tended to tern out. "Not unless you're ready for a few months off on medical leave."

"From that look, somebody is trying to set someone up for a serious beating," Jake observed as he joined the three of them with Hala and Xax.

"Well, it's not me," Chance chuckled slightly. "I'm trying to talk him out of it."

"I'm just pointing out that the Wolves don't have a monopoly on working together, that's all," Terin shrugged, though the grin she was wearing said plainly that she wouldn't have minded seeing the results.

"Uh-hu," Jake regarded her skeptically.

"Anyway," Hala interrupted, her eyes on both toms. "What is the most dangerous situation you can think of on the ground?"

"That we're likely to get into, or in general?" Chance asked her.

"That you're likely to get into, as Enforcers."

"Given our line, crashing in the middle of a riot, worse if it's one caused by a crowd panicking during an Omega attack," Chance told her.

"Pilot and gunner, remember," Terin chuckled slightly as Hala rolled her eyes. "They don't do face-to-face with perps that much."

"So fifty-to-one odds?" the big Wolf asked, trying to work out how that would actually happen.

"Something along those lines, and people we're supposed to actively try not to hurt," Chance nodded. "People who are panicked, not crooks. Any time you crash it's bad, crash where you've got a panicking crowd, and it's a disaster. One of the first things you learn flying with the Black Knights."

"Not exactly the kind of danger I was thinking of," Hala admitted with a shake of her head. "There is little training will help there. You just have to clear out."

"Well, you didn't ask for something you could train about," Chance pointed out. "Beyond that ... probably somebody getting the drop on one of us with a gun or a blaster. Not likely to happen these days, but probably more along the lines of what you're thinking of."

"More along the lines of what we face," she nodded. "We have a move that almost always works, if you're interested."

"Sure," Chance nodded with a glance at Jake. "Never know when it'll come in handy."

She nodded. "Want to see it in action, or just learn?"

"Will we be the ones holding the blasters?" Chance asked with a knowing grin.

"If you want," she grinned back.

"They better be," Mirix grumbled even as he walked over to a cabinet and pulled out two blasters..

"Just for reference, when you pull the trigger, they do fire, just not enough of a charge to do much damage," Hala told them.

"Which is a good thing," Terin chuckled as Jake and Chance took the blasters. "When you're learning, you've got a good chance of getting shot at least once."

"Jake first?" Chance glanced at his partner hopefully.

"You are such a pussy sometimes," Jake laughed and checked his weapon. "Okay, who am I trying to bust?"

"SandClaw," Hala nodded to the Serval.

"Hey, you're the one who doesn't really mind getting things broken, if it happens," Chance chuckled as Terin rolled her eyes.

"You're just worried about getting home and having to explain a sprained arm on a night you weren't in the air," she teased Chance and stepped up to the mat.

"What range?" Jake glanced between them.

"Any you want," Captain Sharten spoke up for the first time. "She can take you."

"Don't give him any ideas, Cap, please," Terin looked at the part-Panther. "Have you seen what he does to people?"

"He's a gunner," Sharten reminded her.

"He's a ranking MMA fighter," she told him.

"Freeze!" Jake used her distraction to get to near touching distance from her head, the muzzle of the blaster less than an inch from her skull.

She nearly jumped in surprise, raising her hands in the correct respect and shifted back in a natural seeming nervousness until she felt the blaster against her skull.

With the same casualness, she shifted her head forward just a bit.

"Do not move," Jake growled in warning, shifting one hand from his blaster to reach for a pair of cuffs that weren't there, but would have been.

Staring right at her, he didn't even see her twist her hips sideways until her hand was on his wrist and she yanked him forward. If was only enough to take him off balance for more than a second, but it was enough for her to grab the blaster by the barrel and twist it out of his hand.

Any other situation, Jake probably would have fought back, but he reminded himself not to this time. The entire move took less than a second, and left Jake unarmed and Terin with his blaster in her hand, ready to turn on him if she had to.

"I'm impressed," he admitted. "Ready to try that when I have a clue you can?"

"Sure," she nodded, handing the blaster back to him. "Just remember, no fair pulling the trigger just to stop me," she added with a chuckle.

"I won't," he promised and stepped back several paces. "Now freeze," he raised the weapon, leveling it at her chest.

Chance watched, taking mental notes of what she was doing, and how she was doing it; he was going to be next, and he wanted at least some idea of what would happen.

"He learns fast, I'll give him that," Hala murmured to Captain Sharten.

"You expected any less?" he chuckled in return. "That's not just any gunner."

"As has been pointed out several times already," she said dryly and watched as Terin worked to get close enough to touch and Jake warily tried to keep her just a bit further out. "You're going to have to cuff her sometime, Jake," she called out.

He flattened his ears slightly and stepped forward, getting into her arm's reach, though she seemed to be cooperating.

It ended in a flash as she took half a step forward, twisting her hips to move her body out of the way. The blaster went off as she grabbed his wrist and pulled, grazing her side without doing any credible damage.

Again, faster than any of them could follow, she was two paces away from a shocked opponent with the blaster leveled at him.

"Y'know, one problem with this occurs to me ... it works against Enforcers pretty well, but only because we're not supposed to go around shooting people. A jittery crook, even if he was close enough to pull it off, don't know how well it'd work," Chance observed. "This time only worked because Jake had to go up and cuff her."

"You are right," Hala acknowledged. "It won't work on someone who intends to shoot you. But jittery, it does usually work on. Go in and take Jake's place. Play a bank robber. You've got Enforcers outside, and she's your hostage."

"Well, at least this probably won't take long," Chance half-joked, knowing the scenario, or any other he'd be given, would need him within arm's reach before long. On the bright side, this one gave him the leeway to get a grip on her arm before they were ready to go, something Jake had to wait to do.

"Hold still and keep quiet and you'll get out of this alive," he growled lowly, holding the blaster to her head.

He barely realized he'd pulled the trigger when things became a blur.

It was the last thought he managed before he was staring up at the ceiling with only a vague sense of movement from when she'd grabbed his gun-hand and thrown him.

"Anybody want to see that in slow-motion?" Terin asked as she offered Chance a hand up.

"No thanks," Chance chuckled as he stood up. "Sorry 'bout your fur," he added, noticing the short, singed fur on her cheek where he'd clipped her.

"No problem," she grinned. "You've got a damn fast trigger finger," she grinned at him with real approval.

"Well, I want to see it," Jake said firmly. "Even if it's not useful as it is for you, it's a good trick. It'd probably work with a knife too."

"I just meant I don't want to see the part where I get my ass knocked to the mat in slow-mo," Chance chuckled. "The move, I'm up for."

"Generally, yes," Hala nodded. "Come on Xax, let's teach the flyboys how to fight Special Ops."

Conroy smirked inwardly, smugly satisfied with his work as he was led back to Doug's cell. It was a long walk, through Alkatraz' Death Row, and to the very back of it at that. From here, it was just a short walk to the execution chambers that waited for the dozens of kats sitting quietly in their cells, occasionally glancing up at the massive Xanith being led past them, their attention attracted to him by some subconscious sense that he deserved it.

He paid them no mind though. His attention was entirely on Doug Berten, and what he was about to set in motion.

"Visitor for you, Berten," the guard said gruffly, letting him in, standing nearby in case he tried anything.

"Good evening, Douglas," Conroy rumbled lowly.

"Good evening, Conroy," he nodded to the priest who had become his friend and confidant. "This is the last time, isn't it?"

"Yes ... just a few more hours now. Have you had your meal, or is that waiting yet?"

"Roast chicken and sweet potato hash," he nodded. "It was good. It's been ages since I had real food."

"That's not what you really want though, is it?" The priest rumbled lowly. "You are still willing to go through with this, I assume?" He asked, pulling out a different bottle of oil from the first time, the last one to complete the anointment and spells he had spent weeks putting in place.

"Yes," he nodded to both questions. "I'm ready."

Conroy took the top off the bottle, staining his fingers and marking Doug's head.

"You know what you have to do, yes?" He rumbled deeply. "Go along with the guards ... let them think that they are killing you. And keep faith. You will be His chosen servant soon."

"I understand," he nodded, though there was a nervous edge to it. "Am I going to feel it?"

"If they do it right ... no," Conroy reassured him. "A proper hanging will break your neck, you'll be unconscious before you strangle. And they're very careful about that sort of thing; it's bad press if they're not."

Doug paused, then chuckled weakly. "Given who some of the survivors have become, I'm not so sure they'd care about bad press just now."

"The Commander himself is going to be here," Conroy chuckled. "Don't worry though ... there's nobody more concerned with appearances than that pompous waste of fur."

"Maybe," Doug nodded. "He's pretty eager though; even came down to gloat today. He's been looking forward to this for most of his life. I really should have known he'd be trouble, being a Feral."

"Oh, he's not going to be the biggest trouble you'll have," Conroy purred lowly. "I understand another of your little friends pulled some strings to be here tonight. Maybe you'll recognize him."

"The tabby," Doug stiffened, suddenly sure of it, then he frowned. "No, he wouldn't have to pull any strings. He'd be in the front row with the rest."

"Perhaps ... at any rate, he doesn't want anybody to know who you are to him. But I want you to know. You're his nightmare, Douglas. Just like you are for everybody else here to watch you. And you're going to be the Boogiekat, very soon ... nobody will be able to stop you. And you'll have a chance to repay some of the injustices you've suffered as well."

"Yes," he purred deeply, looking forward to the results of today, after the unconsciousness and death were behind him. "It will be incredible. I will enjoy looking at all their faces. To see for myself what they feel towards me and my work."

"Just remember ... what I need from you is terror," the priest said lowly, conscious of the guards nearby, but keeping quiet enough they wouldn't hear him. "From this entire city ... make yourself memorable, Douglas. Remind them of why you were the terror of this city. Make sure there is at least one who will remember you, at first."

The old tom nodded. "I will," he promised. "Will I see you again, after today?"

"Perhaps ... when I want to see you, however," Conroy said with a low growl. "If you try to double-cross me, you will discover entirely new definitions of punishment."

"Right," Doug blinked, at an utter loss for the sudden turn of mood. "Why would I ever want to?"

"You probably wouldn't," Conroy granted. "I've learned that paranoia is a very healthy quality though, when dealing with people like what you will become. I believe they're on the way ... be strong, and have faith in Rapentap. All is in place, and the only way you can lose what you have coming to you is if you live."

"Somehow, I expect that won't be a problem," Doug chuckled darkly. "Far too many people intend it to happen, by hanging or otherwise."

Chance checked his uniform and blaster one last time before heading out to meet the other guards he'd be working with tonight. He wasn't nervous, though he had to admit his nerves were shot. It was a strange feeling, really. He knew that tonight was going to be fine. He wasn't worried about how well he performed - if it came down to it, he knew what he'd do, and he knew he was quite capable of it. Doug Berten was going to pay for what he'd done, one way or another, and then Chance was going to go home and try to finally move on with his life... really move on.

But at the same time, he couldn't shake the feeling that something was going to go horribly, horribly wrong tonight. Given that he was just as sure it was going to go fine ... it made for a unique sense of dread and confidence all at once.

"Lucky you got here when you did," a white-furred Wolf grinned as Chance came out to join the other guards.

"Oh?" Chance chuckled. "Why's that?" He asked, trying to spot the guard's nametag.

"Yeah. Newest guy's got the last meal detail. I was the lucky guy this time," Timber Winterlight said, rolling his eyes.

"Just as well," Chance chuckled grimly. "Besides, I'm only here for this. So, he freaking out yet?"

"Freaking me out, but that's about it," the Wolf grumbled. "Never saw anybody so damned easygoing about the fact he's gonna die."

"Pity," Chance shrugged. "I was hoping he'd try and bolt."

"You've really got something against this guy," Winterlight observed. "Hit somebody in your family?"

"Neighbor," Chance said with another shrug. "Not in the vic's family, so this was the only way to get in here."

"Well, watch yourself. We've got the press here, including Miss Gora this time. They're letting them make a circus out of this, so if he does bolt it'll be all over the TV."

"I'll be careful," Chance nodded, filing that bit away, though he'd already heard it was likely. This was BKK's death after all. The guy who'd terrorized the entire city for a generation. It had to be public. Too many people needed to know it was over.

"Well, let's get going ... keep quiet, and don't talk to him after he's out of the cell. Good chance he'll try to get to you, but don't let him. Remember, you're a professional tonight ... and you are going to go watch a guy die, even if he deserves it."

"I know it," Chance nodded grimly. "Don't worry. I don't want to see this fucked up any more than you do, unless he does it."

"Well, let's get going," Winterlight said, nodding back towards the corridors. "Keep to the middle as much as you can, and don't let anybody near your weapons. Never know if somebody's going to try something, and you do not want a riot on your hands if someone does."

"Right," Chance shifted, his dress grays and pilot's wings marking him as an outsider to this place as he followed the two much taller males to the cell of the person who had done more than any to define his life to this point.

When they got there ... Chance was almost disappointed, in a way. BKK ... Douglas Berten ... was talking with a hulking Xanith, as big as Feral. He seemed serious ... not frightened, not cheerful, just....


Through the eyes of an adult, he was a Kat, a tom, like anybody else. Not a monster. Not until you got inside, until you knew what he'd done. No wonder he'd blended in for decades before he'd been caught.

Then he looked up, met Chance's eyes, and smiled.

"Hello Chance," Doug greeted him. "It's been a long time."

Chance set his jaw, not responding. Hadn't been long enough ... too long at the same time. Too long to see this, but not nearly long enough to be ready for it ... in court, he'd had reasons to keep from going after his victims all over again. Now, he didn't have anything to lose.

"It's time, Doug," Winterlight told him. "Stand up, back up to the bars, you know the drill."

"Of course," he smiled politely at the Wolf who had been part of his life for the last year and put his hands through the opening in the bars to he securely cuffed. Then he stepped forward and gave them three paces between him and the door so they'd open it.

Winterlight did so, keeping his eyes on the prisoner and the priest who'd been visiting for the last month.

There was something about him he didn't like, and Chance didn't much like it either. Maybe just the fact that he would be the priest who'd try to comfort somebody like Berten in his last hours. Maybe that he'd apparently done such a good job of it.

"Should I go on ahead, or would you rather escort both of us?" Conroy asked with a low rumble.

"Andolon will show you the way," Winterlight nodded towards the buff Tiger with them.

"Thank you," he nodded, coming out and following the Tiger away. "I'll see you soon, Doug."

"Are you hoping I'll try and run, Chance?" Doug asked amicably as they took the slightly different route to the execution site.

"Keep quiet, Berten," Chance muttered. He couldn't help but start to think that Midnight had been right ... this wasn't a good idea. He should have been home tonight, with his family, not here. He wasn't going to run ... and he seemed to be enjoying seeing him.

"Have you told that pretty thing you married about us?" Doug continued on, unperturbed, not even by the low growl Winterlight gave him. "I bet your kittens are going to be lovely."

"Awfully cheerful for a man who's about to find out what the gods think of thirty years of rape and murder," Chance muttered lowly, the tip of his tail switching back and forth.

Doug smiled. "I already know. Not all of them are like your favorites. Some approve of what I do."

"Quiet down, Berten," Winterlight growled.

"What are you going to do?" He nearly laughed. "Put me in solitary? Do you know who Lt. Furlong is to me?"

"The guy who put you here," Chance growled lowly. "Now shut up!"

Winterlight to blink in surprise. His tail lashed sharply as he realized just how many favors the tabby must have called in or bluffed about to get this close, especially today, and especially with a weapon.

"You're in good company, you know," Doug continued undeterred by the hostility on one side and growing distress on the other. "Your Commander is one of my kittens too."

"I've never been yours," Chance growled, fighting to keep control.

"You've been mine for years, kitten," Doug purred. "No matter how much you've tried to fight it."

"Furlong, be quiet," Winterlight hissed in his ear, a plea and warning all in one.

Chance did as he was told, tail lashing, the fur along it fluffed out in agitation. Damn it ... maybe he didn't look like a monster, but he was one, all the same.

At least it wasn't far now. They turned a corner and saw the door labeled 'Execution Chamber.'

"Halt," Winterlight ordered, pausing both smaller toms before he walked forward to unlock the door.

It was only now that Chance realized how very quiet it was. Almost solemn. He had a feeling that the prisoners were normally rowdier ... was it the execution, or who was getting it?

When they entered the sterile room the size of tennis court he spotted Feral first, his eyes almost reflexively drawn to the Commander's dress uniform and its fair sized collection of medals and ribbons. Next to him on the hanging platform was the priest, a Kat that somehow managed to be both bigger and more imposing than the one next to him.

Andolon was off to one side of the room with several other guards, and Winterlight quietly told Chance to join them as he led the prisoner to the platform and the three Kats waiting there.

The tabby did so, glad to be further away from Berten as he walked up the platform, his eyes moving between the Commander, the priest and the hangkat, his tail swishing back and forth ... now he was starting to look nervous.

This was how it was supposed to be, Chance felt. It was his turn to be worried, scared. His turn to die.

On a level, Chance wished that execution methods hadn't become so civilized in the last century. Someone like Berten deserved some of those old methods Jake and Zach could go on for hours on. Like the penalty for treason in Megalith City times, or the death of ten thousand cuts from Xenquii.

The priest spoke a final few words to Berten, touched Berten's forehead briefly, and stepped away before turning to walk down the stairs to the space under the platform where the rope would stop Berten's fall.

The hangkat put the hood over Berten's face, and in that last moment Chance could see that his eyes were closed and lips moving in something like a prayer. On the other side of the viewing window, he could see some of the victims ... survivors, parents, people he'd seen in court before. Ann Gora ... Chance did a bit of a double-take as he recognized one of the younger shekats in the audience.

Connie was here ... he hadn't expected that.

She looked like she was doing okay at least. Her folks weren't with her; it didn't look like anyone was with her. Maybe she was just trying to save whoever was in her life now the trauma of seeing somebody die.

He could still remember that first look at death in the flesh, the moment when it became a real thing and not an abstract thing prettied up by funeral directors or glamorized in the movies.

That day it had been a friend, shot by people he still didn't know for reasons he still couldn't understand. The next was someone he didn't know, but had hated passionately for the minute between realizing it was a knife in his hand and breaking his face in. Later, three friends and two strangers in a car crash drove home the point of not driving drunk.

Then there was four and some years ago, and the partner he'd lost, only to get back. He wasn't exactly numb to it now, but the shock value was gone after what he'd seen of the werewolf's victims.

He held down a shudder at that memory, and at the rest that began to pour into his consciousness from deeper in his mind.

"Pssst," a very low sound to his left brought him back to the present day in time to take in the scene of Commander Feral with his hand on the lever and a potbellied piebald tom about to drop.

This one was different from all the others. Those people ... even when they deserved it, there had always been something sad about it, about the potential being lost. He just couldn't bring himself to see this the same way. If he was right about Feral being another victim, then this was a measure of justice that very few such cases had.

Feral pulled it, and the bottom dropped out beneath Berten. He fell ... but not quite far enough.

There was a choking sound, and the body twisted and writhed, jerking around in a desperate effort to escape.

Chance heard Feral gasp, a horrified sound that didn't quite seem right, then the Commander looked right at him and roared "Furlong! Shoot him!"

It took him a brief moment to realize what he'd been ordered to do ... but he did it. His blaster was out of its holster while the other guards were still shocked by the order. He fired at the struggling figure, three pulls on the trigger before he had a chance to think about it, to question what he was about to do. Each shot found its mark; the side of Berten's hood smoked where two of the shots had gone through, and his uniform was smoldering over his heart.

He had to admit. During the last few weeks, he'd occasionally fantasized about this ... about shooting Berten. But not like this. He holstered his weapon, silently struck by the complete lack of the sick feeling he'd always had when he'd risked killing somebody, let alone the one time he'd done it before.

Then it hit him just what had happened. The execution had been botched ... he'd finished the job, on orders, granted, but he'd finished it, with the cameras rolling outside and civilians watching. He glanced sideways at the window, and just saw Connie staring at him before the curtain finished falling to block off the scene.

It had all happened in the space of two breaths.

"What the Hell happened?" Feral roared with a level of fury that made even Chance jump, though that rage was focused squarely on the hangkat.

"I'll have to find out, sir," the smaller Kat said as calmly as he could, though it was clear that he was badly rattled. "I checked his weight and the length of the rope this afternoon, it shouldn't have changed that quickly. Somebody may have altered the knots since then."

"You will, or I will," Feral promised with a deadly growl. "Dismissed. Furlong," he turned to the tabby. "Go get that scale."

"Yes sir," Chance nodded, turning to look at the shocked, shaken Wolf next to him. "Do you know where they keep it?" He asked.

"Yes," Winterlight nodded, responding to the direct question without thinking. He turned to leave the execution chamber.

Chance groaned quietly as he pulled up into the driveway, laying back in the driver's seat for a moment and closing his eyes.

Hell of a night, no matter how you looked at it. He'd just spent four hours helping with the investigation into what the Hell happened with the hanging ... somebody had fucked around with the scale. Probably wouldn't keep the hangkat from getting fired, but it meant he wouldn't be up on charges unless they could prove he did it himself.

The officers who'd shown up to take charge when Feral had to finally face the cameras were something else too. None of them were people Chance knew by anything more than a call name or by reputation ... rumors, and nothing more, but they were unmistakable all the same. It was downright freaky to meet a dozen Ghosts in the flesh and realize that they weren't just a myth to inspire or threaten.

He finally got out of the car, groaning inwardly as he noticed Jake's parked a few houses down. He wasn't looking forward to this ... he didn't think that Jake was there for a morning training session, so that meant he'd probably seen the news.

Steeling himself he walked to the front door and unlocked it. When he pushed it open, it took him a moment to realize Midnight was there to greet him with a tight hug.

He returned the hug, automatically at first, then with more sincerity and enthusiasm, hugging her tightly and kissing the top of her head.

"You haven't been waiting up, have you?" He asked her with a soft murmur, not looking up just yet. He didn't want to see how many of the people whose scents he was recognizing were still there.

Jake, Rock ... Meg, maybe Mindy, then the rest of the Black Knights ... almost like a celebration, though it was far more sober.

"Yes," she murmured. "We saw the news, didn't want you to come home alone."

"How much....?"

"Kathie and Amanda watched the live broadcast," she said gently and coaxed him into the living room where his close friends and family had gathered. "They saw the botch, Feral's order, your shots."

"And so you guys all rushed over to make sure I was okay, huh?" He asked with a bit of a sigh, taking a seat next to Midnight.

"It's the first time you've had to do something like that," Rock pointed out. "Even with who he was...."

"Not really," Chance murmured, then clamped up as soon as he realized he said it. "Look, I've had a bad night and a very long morning. I'll be fine, promise."

"Son," Meg began, than paused, assessing him evenly. "Will you be up for a family and friends dinner tonight? No questions about what happened."

"Sure," he nodded. "It's just been a long night, Mom. After what you guys saw, I got a crash course in Feral on the warpath, IA, and media feeding frenzies all at once."

"Did you meet a Ghost?" Colin Black asked, trying to contain both his curiosity and worry.

"...Yeah, I did," Chance nodded. "Feral's main investigators," he explained to the people in the room who weren't Enforcers. "And I do mean Feral's from what I saw. We still don't have any real answers, but it was rough."

"Who?" Colin asked, only to get his ears bopped by Kathie when she stood. "What?"

"He's had a long shift, he's okay. No more questions on it until we get to the lodge," she ordered evenly. "Okay, Black Knights, lets go."

"Thanks," Chance said gratefully, looking at Jake in particular. "I'll see you guys tomorrow when our shift starts."

Kathie raised an eyebrow at that as her squad began their goodbyes to Midnight, Rock and Meg. "You're not flying, you know that, right?"

"So I'm being optimistic," he half-laughed. "IA's not going to be on me too much, not with Feral giving me the order, and I should be done with the head-shrinkers pretty quick, I hope. I'll still at least drop by so you guys know I really am okay."

"Good," she nodded and gave his shoulder a squeeze. "You know we're here for you, if you need a distraction from being grounded."

"Thanks," he smiled. "Just nobody go and get into anything I should be getting you out of before I'm back in the air," he added, squeezing her hand lightly before letting her head out.

"Hey, that's my job!" Joan objected playfully from where she was standing next to Meg.

"As if that's ever stopped us," Jake grinned back at her.

"After all, somebody's got to rescue you when it goes off," Chance grinned along with his partner, getting a dirty look from Joan before she was herded out along with the rest of their squadron by Kathie.

"At least you'll have a night or two to finish getting the rest of your tweaks to the Black Sun in place," Chance offered Jake once they were on their own. "Hope this didn't end up interrupting anything?"

"Nothing we wouldn't have interrupted anyways," Rock snorted. "You are family, y'know."

"And my partner," Jake nodded, then reached out to grip his shoulder. "I'll see you tomorrow."

"See you then," Chance nodded. "Unless I end up seeing you tonight," he added with a chuckle.

"Well, I'm not going to drag you two there, but you're welcome as always," Meg smiled. "Chance, Midnight, and the grandkits are the only one we'll katnap if we have to," she chuckled, giving her son a hug and kissing his cheek lightly.

"Oh, we'll be there," Rock promised with a grin. "Sleep well, cousin," he added as he and Jake turned to leave, the lean tom clearly relieved to see his partner in such good shape.

"You guys too," Chance called after them. "And you too, okay?" He murmured, kissing his mother's forehead lightly.

"I'm supposed to be taking care of you, remember," she chuckled, swatting him with her tail. "He got what he deserved, Chance. You did the right thing."

"Thanks," he murmured, hugging her again before she started out. "Should probably check with Bruce in a day or two, make sure she is handling it well," he mused after the door closed, sitting down next to Midnight again. He let out a deep sigh, leaning heavily against her.

"You were right," he murmured softly, closing his eyes and grateful for her supportive embrace.

"About what?" she asked softly.

"That I shouldn't have done this," he explained, wrapping an arm around her. "Bastard remembered me ... recognized me even. Probably would have punched him out if the other guard hadn't interrupted. And then the botched hanging ... Hell, if Feral hadn't ordered me to take the shot, I probably would have just let him strangle."

"Chance, if he hadn't ordered you to shoot, killing him would have been murder," she tried to make it sound better than it did. "You did exactly what you had to, either way."

"You're right," he murmured. "Just don't particularly like it either, either way." He sighed and rubbed her side. "Kittens were asleep before any of this got going, right?"

"Long since asleep," she nodded and kissed his cheek. "They're with your mother today. She thought you could use an uninterrupted sleep."

"Now that sounds good," he chuckled slightly, returning the kiss. "Thanks, to both of you ... so, up to bed?" He asked her hopefully, taking her hand.

"Yes," she smiled, nuzzled him, then stood. "Let's get some rest."

"What are they going to have to eat at this dinner?" R'ars almost managed not to whine. With her hands over her distended belly her loose dress could, from just the right angle, make her look less than heavily pregnant. "I'm starving."

"Barbecue, grilled meat and all sorts of sides," A'zay smiled reassuringly at her from the driver's seat of their large van.

K'dar leaned forward from the third row and patted her sister's leg. "You're always hungry, eating for two," she giggled, a strange look on her over two-foot long muzzle. "Don't worry, I hear these Furlongs are serious eaters too."

"Well, they certainly are if Chance and Stacy are any indication," A'zay chuckled. "Don't worry, they'll have plenty of food for all of us, I'm sure. The squad all chipped in to help cover the non-tabbies."

"So how many of them will be coming on such short notice?" K'dar asked curiously, watching the city streets pass by as they worked their way to the public park where it was being held.

"Stacy said it would be most of the extended family in the city," he hedged a bit around what he thought that meant and what he got the impression it did. "I'm not sure how many that is, but the clan mother said the squad and our kin would be no trouble to include."

"Oh my ... they might not even notice you," R'ars mused as she saw the large number of cars, bikes, and vehicles of all shapes and sized parked around the public park they were using for the gathering. "Are you sure you didn't drive to a carnival by mistake?" She asked with a chuckle.

"Quite sure," he nodded and found a spot for their van. "It smells too meaty for a carnival."

"Which I'm going to call a good thing," R'ars grinned, licking her long lips as they parked and climbed out, her large nose taking in the scents of the place along with her sister's and their mate's.

"Halikar protect us," a young teen nearby gasped, staring at them with frightened eyes.

"Relax!" Kathie's voice called out from further away. "They're Knights."

"She's right, guys!" Stacy called out next, closer. "This is A'zay, our Deathwalker, and his two mates, they're good."

"Sorry about that," Chance said as he approached from the crowd. "Not everybody here's familiar with the different folks we have on the squad."

"We're used to it, this far from home," A'zay grinned at him. "Sometimes I'm surprised anyone gets used to the jaws."

"Can we eat?" R'ars asked anxiously.

"Of course," Chance smiled at her, eyeing her extended belly. "When are they due?"

"Another four months," she sighed deeply. "You Kats have it so lucky, you know."

"Tell that to Midnight during the last month or so," he chuckled, indicating where they could get their food. "Andy's got the barbecue pit working full time, so help yourselves," he told them.

"Tell her about the folks who carry for a full thirteen months when she does," K'dar winked at him before following her pack to the food.

"They're why we insisted on chipping in," Kathie added softly to Meg. "Between them and the three Hyaenodon coming, the meat can disappear fast."

"Even by Furlong standards," Stacy grinned.

"We won't tip them off about where to find Andy's restaurant normally then," Meg chuckled. "I'm a little surprised those two are in the Pilot and Gunner programs."

"They're transfers," Kathie explained. "They were air corps in their homelands, or something along those lines. They aren't organized like the Enforcers are. When the first tour was over, they decided to stay."

"That makes sense," she nodded slightly. "Around here, I'd have expected them to go for the combat units," she chuckled.

"Yeah, that's what most people think until they see 'em in action," Chance grinned. "A'zay's as good a shot as Jake is."

"That's saying something," Meg raised an eyebrow at her son in surprise. "Thirteen month pregnancy ... how big are the pups when they come out?"

"Around fifty pounds, as I understand it," Kathie smiled softly, looking at the three unusual Kantin that were taller and heavier than even the big Tigers. "E'gra's will be about the same, though his mate isn't showing as much yet. Oh, and where he comes from, the surname is in front. Ku'mid is the pack name, even though they say it first."

"So ... what should we call him?" Meg asked, twitching her tail and trying to sort it out.

"We call him ShatterCoil," Stacy chuckled. "Don't worry about it too much. He answers to all three."

"E'gra," Kathie supplied with a bemused shake of her head. "The darker male of the three is L'ern, and the female is Seratilista. She's very much in charge of the three, especially these days."

"She's pregnant too," Chance told her as another van pulled up. "Seems to be a recurring theme with the squad's mates," he grinned playfully over at Rock, who rolled his eyes and shook his head.

"I take it that Midnight wants to go for another litter," Jake teased as he walked up with a grilled sausage of some kind in a thick bun. "I think Andy's scared of the big guys."

"Can you blame him?" Chance laughed. "They could eat him out of business if they put their minds to it," he grinned as the Hyaenodons climbed out. "Be right back; going to grab some of the pork while it's still there."

"As if we'd ever run out of food," Meg huffed in mock indignation, only to plaster a welcoming grin on her face and headed off to greet the next three giants. She gave Kathie a quick smile of thanks when she realized the squadron leader was at her side.

"Glad to see you made it," Kathie thumped the biggest of the three on the arm as high up as she could easily reach.

"And miss a chance to socialize?" he grinned down at her. "We've got two Furlongs by blood and one by mate in this clan. We would never ignore an invitation to eat with them."

"Welcome to dinner," Meg grinned up at the huge Hyena-like people with small saber-fangs and short, sleek fur of mostly dark browns and stripes.

"Thank you," the visibly pregnant female of the three smiled in return as she was helped out by the smaller of the two males. "We are the Ku'mid. I am Seratilista, this is L'ern" she inclined her powerfully square head towards the darker, and slightly smaller, of the two males. "And our Black Knight is E'gra."

"A pleasure to meet all of you," Meg smiled warmly. "It's not easy to convince Chance to bring his squadron-mates and family together," she chuckled.

"As I heard it, he wasn't asked," E'gra chuckled. "Go ahead, Seratilista. I'll catch up."

"Thank you," she inclined her powerful head to Meg before making a beeline for the food.

"She is eating for two, possibly three," E'gra said by way of explanation and apology. "She is always hungry now."

"She'll get along fine with your gunner's mate, from the sound of it ... as long as they're not after the same plate," Meg chuckled. "Don't worry about it, I'm quite used to the effect being pregnant has on somebody's appetite. As is Andy," she added with a chuckle at the audible groan from the pit-kat as he saw the three additional massive Kantin. "Just not when they're quite your size."

"At least we don't have litters the size of some Kats and Kantin," E'gra rumbled in amusement. "I can only imagine what they would be like eating for seven."

"You'd strip the city clean of anything edible in a generation," Kathie deadpanned. "Chance seems to be holding up pretty well," she added, glancing at the tabby as he talked to a few cousins he hadn't seen in a while.

"That Kat was not one he'll ever regret having dead," Meg admitted. "Add that it was a direct order from Feral himself ... he's probably put it behind him by now."

"I get the feeling this wasn't his first kill," Kathie probed for a bit more info on an event she only had the barest facts on.

"It ... wasn't," Meg admitted. "You do your best for your kittens, but sometimes there's no way to keep them out of trouble. When he was fourteen, he got involved in a fight. The other Kat came at him with a knife, he defended himself."

"I knew he was acquitted of wrongdoing, but a juvenile record is difficult at best to get details on," Kathie kept her voice low. "I know he's survived more hell than that too. It's what really has me worried about this kill. He shouldn't have been where he was. On the job, he's flawless. Jake thinks he's not quite right, but good enough to fly. Midnight ... she's worried, but thinks he'll be okay. I see someone who's worried by not having his gut twist in a knot by what he did. What do you see in your son right now?"

Meg paused, looking after Chance.

"Someone who's worried that he'll end up not caring about it anymore. He's seen what happens to Kats who stop caring when they kill somebody. I'm sorry to say that some of them have been family. He'll learn, I think ... what happened last night was a fluke. He did something that should have been done fifteen years ago, and he knows it. He's just not sure if it's okay to know it yet."

"At least everyone who knows him agrees," Kathie nodded with a small breath of relief. "It'll take a few days for Psych to figure it out, but he should be back in the air by the time we get back from the squad retreat this weekend."

"I might be biased, but it will take more than this to unhinge him," Meg chuckled slightly. "He's been through a lot, and managed to come out of it better than almost anybody expected him to."

"It shows, sometimes," Kathie nodded. "Have you seen Midnight and the kittens?"

"A while ago," Meg nodded. "She's all but glowing, and they are growing fast. She's trying for a big family even by our standards."

"Hope Chance is up to it," Kathie chuckled. "He's got the largest family of any of the Knights ... and not just counting the extended one," she added, indicating the crowd of over two dozen. "The pups A'zay and E'gra's have on the way aside, he and Stacy are the only parents on the team, actually."

"Now you see why we have this sort of extended family," Meg grinned.

"It's the old way of families," Kathie smiled with faint regret. "This kind of connection is too rare these days."

"It's self-defense, in the Bars," Meg chuckled. "Andy's got the restaurant, I run an apartment complex ... in general, we've tried to work our ways into areas where we can help each other out; it keeps us close. If you think the wedding was something, just wait until you're invited to the triplet's coming of age, if they make it," she grinned.

"If they don't, there will be serious hell to pay," Kathie almost growled, then caught herself. "Sorry, the squad is family for most of us. Most of us don't have kits of our own, so we take a personal interest in those that do."

"The squad would have to get in line, if there was somebody to blame for it," Bruce said seriously as he brought Meg a sandwich and soda. "But that's not always the case."

"No, though they've got a good shot at it," Meg smiled, looking at her son and daughter-in-law off in the crowd. "Disease and accident happen, but they're less likely to be a problem for them, I think."

"As long as he's an Enforcer, that's definitely true," Kathie nodded. "We live dangerous lives, but the health care is excellent. It's not going to be like growing up in the Bars for them. They'll always be part of the Black Knights family, and like you, we take care of our own."

"So I've heard," Bruce smiled. "Friend of mine told me about what you did for Chance's predecessor. From the sound of it, I don't think he could be in a better unit."

"Thank you," Kathie actually blushed lightly. "It's a team effort, and they pull my tail out of the fire too, when I need it."

"Literally on occasion, if Paladin's rep is anything close to true," Bruce glanced towards the calico shekat chatting it up with a couple Furlong toms, and flirting shamelessly while she was at it.

"Oh, it very much is," Kathie laughed. "She got that call for good reason, and it came right out of one of Feral's rants about her tendencies. She's saved each of our tails a couple times, though. He's not ready to piss off the entire squad yet."

"So that part of the Knight's rep is true too, then?" Bruce looked at her curiously.

"I dearly wish," she shook her head. "His Ghosts could kick our tails across the continent if he really wanted them to. It's just a bad idea to have your best recruiters decide you aren't a good CO, and he knows me well enough to know I would make a PR nightmare for him if I decided he deserved it. So he sticks to ranting and I spin things the best I can to potential recruits."

"So what's the deal with these Ghosts?" Meg asked her. "They were mentioned last night, too, but I've never heard of them."

"I'm not surprised," Kathie smiled slightly. "They officially don't exist, but they are the Enforcer ... well, they're the folks you send when you need it done yesterday and know not to ask how it happens, or you're the Commander and you need to trust what you are being told is the complete truth. They're the folks that keep Internal Affairs in line too. Scary folks. I met one once, years ago. Nobody's ever freaked me out like that, before or since."

"So are they likely to cause any trouble for Chance?" She asked Kathie, frowning a bit. "Intentionally or otherwise... I don't know what this might end up doing to his long-term prospects."

"It'll just make him more appealing to Special Ops, Supernatural Investigations won't care and hell ... it's low on the scale of what Black Knights get into," she chuckled low in her chest. "No, he won't catch much flack for it from anyone who matters. Might even get him noticed to become a Ghost, if he keeps it up around the Commander."

"From the sound of it, I don't know that he'd want the job," Bruce chuckled. "He likes the Commander well enough, but Chance takes a lot to hit that sort of loyalty."

"But he has it to give," Kathie added. "If the Commander earns it like Jake has, I wouldn't be surprised if he became a Ghost someday."

"It would certainly be unusual," Meg mused. "Though from what you've described, I'm not sure if it would be a good thing, necessarily."

"I'd hate to loose them, and I would, if it happened," Kathie admitted.

"Well, with any luck it won't get that far," Meg smiled, watching Chance and Midnight from a distance.

"Bet you're glad you're a Kat now," Chance chuckled as he and Midnight walked away from E'gra and A'zay and their pregnant mates, heading off to see where the kittens had gotten to in the well-attended collection of kittens playing. "Lot shorter, at any rate."

"No kidding," she leaned against his arm. "I could be on my second litter by the time she gives birth to the first."

"And she'll probably only have one," Chance said, shaking his head. "I would not want to be A'zay while she's in labor," he chuckled, rubbing her side lightly.

"At least she'll have good painkillers, assuming she goes for them," she giggled.

"Unlike you," he muttered good-naturedly. "I want them if you do that again."

"Ah, I wasn't that nasty," she couldn't hold back her laughter.

"Yeah, well, I'm still wearing a codpiece cup next time," he mock-grumbled, turning to steal a quick kiss.

"Just show up in full body armor," Midnight had to stop walking, she was giggling so hard. "They won't think poorly of you."

"Jake would never let me live it down," he shook his head.

"No, but he wouldn't think poorly of you," she snickered.

"Come on, let's go get the ones we do have," Chance said, shaking his head again. "Hey Christie! How long until you've got your own to spoil?" He asked the pregnant tabby fem playing with their triplets with a grin.

"Two months," she grinned back, her hazel eyes lighting up at the subject. "Doc said I'll have two. I can't imagine being your size and giving birth to three this size," she added to Midnight in real admiration. "Furlong blood does not do small."

"No, it doesn't," Midnight chuckled. "But they're worth it," she added, kneeling with Chance to pick them up, rubbing their backs.

"At least they're not getting into the barbecue yet," Chance chuckled. "That'd be a real nightmare later."

"Wait until we have three or four litters to feed as teenagers," Midnight giggled, real mischief in her eyes before she nuzzled Heather.

"As long as they're potty-trained by then, it'll be less painful on everything but the wallet," Chance deadpanned, nuzzling Carmin's head lightly.

"Three or four litters?" Christie's eyes went wide. "You really don't aim small."

"We're going to try for more next month," Midnight purred softly, not minding the way her daughters pulled at her long black hair or tried to climb onto her shoulders and head. "I hope it takes as well as last time."

"She's been looking forward to being a mother for about half her life now," Chance chuckled. "She's making up for lost time now," he winked. "Fortunately, I like kittens too, or it'd be a nightmare for one of us ... probably me," he grinned.

"As if we would have gotten together like this if you didn't want them," Midnight leaned over to kiss his cheek. "You're a great tom, but I wouldn't have married anyone who didn't want lots of kittens."

"Just as well," Christie chuckled. "I'm good with a smaller family for now, and so's Josh."

"Well, hey, somebody's got to break the family traditions," Chance chuckled. "Where is he, anyways?"

"Work, I'm afraid," Christie sighed, shaking her head. "He'll be by in a bit, if he can get away, but you know how it is."

"Yeah, managers have almost worse hours than Enforcers do," Chance nodded. "At least this one will last long enough for him to catch half of it."

"It should," she nodded. "With a little luck, things'll slow down by the time the kits are born. It's year end at the shop right now, so it's the usual chaos. Couple months down the line...."

"And he'll be able to enjoy being a first-time father," Midnight smiled.

"With any luck," Chance nodded. "It's not something to miss out on."

"Is that what you've been telling your big friends over there?" Mindy grinned as she walked up behind them, scritching Pat's head affectionately as the kitten perched on her mother's shoulder, reveling in the attention.

"I wasn't a father yet when they made the choice," he grinned at her. "Those two stay pregnant for over a year."

"And we've already both commented on how much of a nightmare that would be, so don't - especially since you've never been through it," Midnight grinned.

"For which I'm grateful, for now," Mindy smirked. "So, what do you know about 'em?" She asked Chance curiously, glancing back at the two packs.

"They've been my squad mates since I graduated," he shrugged. "Good folks, if a little odd. They aren't from here, just decided to stay."

"So ... anything else?" She asked him. "I mean ... what are they like? And are they more like Wolves, or Kats?" She added, her tail swishing behind her. "If you know, obviously; that part I could see you not really knowing."

Chance looked at her blankly, then shook his head with a laugh. "I haven't heard them talk about dating, but I haven't heard anything to indicate they wouldn't."

"You're interested in them?" Christie asked Mindy incredulously. "Mates aside, look at 'em! They're huge!"

"They're different," Mindy countered with a smirk. "And I like different. Besides, I wouldn't be the first person in the family to take an interest in 'huge,'" she chuckled, nodding over her shoulder to one of their cousins and the Xanith tom he was dating.

"Or small," Christie giggled with a nod towards Chance and then Rock. "Family goes both ways."

"Yeah, well I'll see about making up for my brother for now," Mindy winked, heading off to go talk to the massive Kantins.

"Here's hoping it's a quiet couple of nights for everybody," Chance murmured as he and Jake rode the elevator up to meet the squad for their orders for the night. They knew they wouldn't be flying, but they also knew that Kathie would have their instructions ... not that they were expecting anything new. They'd been grounded before, and the routine was pretty much the same from one time to the next. Paperwork, time to work on their jet, and quietly praying that their flight wouldn't end up needing them when they weren't there.

"Here's hoping you get released for flight duty soon," Jake agreed fervently. "I hate being grounded almost as much as you do."

"Hell, they can't keep me down that long," Chance pointed out. "Feral's the one who told me to take the shot in the first place, there's no question it was good, and even if they're going to have the shrinks clear me first they don't have that much to keep me out of the air on. If I'm down for the rest of the week I'd be surprised."

He just hoped he was right. He'd go stir crazy if they kept him on desk duty that long.

"I don't think anyone doubts about it being a legit shot," Jake said as they got off on the pre-flight deck. "But you know how they can be about the first kill on duty."

"Yeah, I do," Chance nodded. "Hell though; this is the cleanest death I've seen, whoever's responsible. Anyways, it shouldn't be too long." He settled down as they approached their squad-mates, waiting for the night's orders.

Through the greetings and grins, it wasn't hard to tell they were concerned. Anything that kept a jet on the ground was worth of it.

"I see you both made it," Kathie said as she entered the briefing room. "You know where SI has their main briefing room?"

"Yes," Jake nodded.

"Definitely," Chance nodded. "We've got some friends over there."

"Well they want you until you're cleared for flight duty again," she handed them a packet of papers. "Report to Detective James Brown now. They have a case for you to help out on."

Chance blinked, taking the papers.

"Whoa... well, okay," he said, slipping the packet under his arm after a glance to make sure of what they were. "C'mon Jake," he said, turning around to head for the elevator with his partner.

"Try to stay out of trouble, you two!" Joan called after them, openly teasing their affinity for being in the middle of anything overtly weird.

"We always try," Jake said just loud enough for her to hear, his grin only for his partner to see.

"So, who'd you have to bribe to get us this while we're grounded?" Chance asked Jake with a grin of his own when the elevator closed.

"No one," he chuckled deeply. "I just mentioned within a SI earshot that we were grounded for a few days. They did the rest. They really do want us."

"Well, they're gonna have to keep working at it, but this is a help," he chuckled. "So ... any idea what this case is?" He asked curiously as they headed down towards the middle floors.

"I don't know for sure, but I hear the big one right now is a series of jewelry story robberies that are physically impossible," Jake winked at him. "That's how they got kicked up to SI at least. No way will we have a case of our own, so it'll be one of the bigger ones."

"Makes sense," Chance nodded. "We'll just have to see how impossible they really are," he grinned. "At least it's not another murder case ... really suck to have to handle another werewolf."

Jake shuddered, the sound that came from his throat instead of a word was a sharp reminder that the werewolf was his BKK. For very different reasons, but it was what he just couldn't deal with the idea of repeating.

"Sorry," Chance murmured apologetically. "How is Zach doing, anyways?"

"He still has an issue with his temper, but otherwise they say he's doing well, and he likes it there," Jake answered, still pulling himself together as the elevator opened to a busy hallway. "He's not that good a hunter, but he learns history fast enough that he manages. Wisekats don't go hungry unless everyone is."

"That's good," Chance nodded. "You know if he ever plans on coming back?"

"I doubt he'll stay in Karalanol for life, but he hasn't said anything about coming back here," Jake admitted. "It's not something we talk about much."

"Right ... so, what do you know about these robberies?" Chance asked, searching for another topic that was less touchy as they walked towards the briefing room.

"Not much," he admitted as they made their way to the familiar briefing room that SI used for major operations. "Jewelry stores, banks, coin dealers. They don't take cash, don't leave any visible trace and fool the security systems, even the good ones. The first couple were thought to be an inside job, then the pattern got bigger and Sashari nosed around, found a few traces that kicked it right to SI."

"Don't take cash? That's definitely not the usual burglar," Chance mused as they entered the room, two seats near the door empty, the main group waiting for them with idle chatter.

"Good to see you made it in good time," Detective Brown greeted them. "Now that everyone is here, let's bring Clawson and Furlong up to speed."

Power Games 5: The BoogieKat Killer pt 1 of 4

NC-17 for M/M, M/F sex
Het Level is HighHet Smut Level is Medium
Slash Level is Slash Smut Level is Medium
Femslash Level is None
Herm Level is None

176 KB, Story is Complete, Series is Finished
Written November 5, 2007 by Rauhnee Ranshanka and Karl Wolfemann

Setting: SWAT Kats

Primary Races: Kantin, Kat

Contents: Furry. Het (M/F). Slash (M/M). Alternate Universe, Bestiality, Child Abuse (Sexual), Fantasy, Rape (M on M), Rape (M on M), Sex (BDSM), Sex (BDSM), Supernatural, Violence

Pairings: Chance Furlong/Midnight Raven, Jake Clawson/Rock Furlong, Ulysses Feral/Shier Khan, others

Notes: While the actual pedophilia is kept off screen, it is a central feature to this story and not a minor warning. If you made it to this far, you obviously have a strong stomach for violence, but this pushed even our comfort zone.

Blurb: When Chance and Ulysses' kittenhood nightmare finally faces death for his crimes, it is the beginning of the horrors, not the end, for MegaKat City and its defenders.

Disclaimer: All things taken directly from the sources listed under 'Fandoms' belong to the owners of those shows. No harm is intended and we're definitely not making any money. Now, the things we created are ours, and if you see 'Non-FanFic' up there, it's probably all ours.

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