Power Games 6:
Breaking Barriers

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

Lieutenant Commander David Steele leaned up against the wall of his cell, listening to the Creepling guarding him pacing back and forth.

He had no idea how long it had been since he'd been captured, lured out into the Badlands by a phony call from a shekat and ambushed by Dark Kat's goons. He'd been hoping that the Enforcers would find him by now ... but he was sure it had been at least a week, maybe two, since he'd been taken.

It was time to take matters into his own hands ... at least it was just one Creepling watching him now. He'd lulled them into a false sense of security. He was even in a cell that would be pitifully easy to pick the lock of, but he'd seen the Creeplings pass off a key he was sure would open the door even faster.

He just had to lure the little monster close, grab it, get the key, and he would be gone.

He waited for just the right moment, even letting it stick its arm inside the cell a few times so it wouldn't run off when he moved. Finally, it seemed to be paying attention to something else, leaned up against the cell. He lunged for it, grabbing the pink little creature and pulling it through the bars of the cell.

It let out a startled squawk, not putting up much of a fight before he threw it into the wall, stunning it and getting the key.

He was out and locked it in the cell before it could do more than shake its head in confusion.

"That'll teach you," Steele muttered before glancing each direction the hallway led, trying to remember the way he'd been brought in.

He finally made up his mind and started off to the left, crossing his fingers and hoping to find the way up and out.

Assuming that up was the way out... he'd been rather unconscious at the time. At least if he could find an outer wall he'd be able to figure out what way to go.

His ears twitched while he was still in the cell blocks. A kitten crying out for it's mother.

He sighed inwardly. Part of him really, really wanted to get out of here. But until he knew she was okay....

Well, even he had limits when it came to saving his own hide.

He turned in the direction of the voice he heard to make sure she'd be okay until he got back with help. Despite the low grumbling he couldn't hold back, he found her quickly. She was in a cell only a few doors down; a dark gray tabby with fine black stripes, probably six years old.

She looked up at his approach, her dark blue eyes wide and hopeful. "Help me?"

"What are you doing here?" He asked quietly, glancing back and forth for any sign of a guard or a trap. "Are your parents in here anywhere?"

She shook her head, the rag doll clutched in her tiny arms shaking with her. "Big dark Kat took me, put me here. I'm hungry. Please, take me home."

She looked like she hadn't been hurt... just a bit neglected.

"Look...." Steele looked around uncomfortably, weighing his options and making up his mind quickly. "I'm going to go get the Enforcers, I'll be back and we'll get you out of here. It won't help if I let you out and then we both get caught again, they'll probably just treat you worse if that happens."

"Please take me away!" she objected, her eyes tearing up.

"Look, I don't even know if we're out in the badlands," he protested. "If I take you out of here, you could get hurt, I'll be back with help just as soon as I can!" He promised her, turning to leave before she could try and talk him out of it again.

He heard her cry out in objection, but shifted from walking to running before anything could respond to her and capture him.

He barely heard the cell door slam open, and the snarl of rage behind him. He glanced back, trying to figure out what he was hearing, and was shocked to see the kitten charging after him.

"What's going on?" He spat out.

"You are not getting away," the kitten growled as she barreled into him, knocking him off his feet. "My dinner."

He fought back, grabbing her arms and trying to push her back until he felt a wave of sickening nausea wash over him. He shoved her off, rolling to his knees and trying to stand, only managing to throw up before she was back on top of him.

"What are you?" he snarled, flailing wildly in an effort to dislodge her from his back.

"Hungry," she growled before biting into his neck as the last of his strength gave out and he fell forward to the ground.

His blood spurted out as she ripped his jugular open, pain shooting through his neck and chest both as the... whatever it was drained the life out of him faster than even his shredded throat could.

It was a matter of moments before blackness claimed him, and Janet settled in to feast.

"Well, that didn't take long," Dark Kat's deep voice rumbled as he approached his pet and her very messy dinner.

"He didn't rescue me," she pouted despite the bloody mess of her face.

"You still caught him though," Dark Kat said approvingly. "You won't always be able to trick people into rescuing you. Do you know why he didn't?"

"He was too afraid of being captured again," she said as she munched on his heart. "His life was more important to him than anything else."

"In this case, you're right," he nodded. "Finish your dinner, then let the Creeplings know when you're finished. They'll dispose of the body once they're done with the leftovers."

"Yes, Dark Kat," she nodded and returned focus on her meal as he walked off.

Milena Stewart's thick black tail swished in excited agitation as she lit the candles on the table set for two. The lights were dim, the scent of an array of colorful flowers were in the air, and there was less than comfortable lingerie under her blood red dress in hopes of a particularly spectacular tenth date.

She shivered in anticipation of it. Even on his bad days, Ulysses was incredible in bed. Tonight held every promise of being a very good day. The city had been reasonably quiet lately, and he'd liked the idea of a quiet dinner at her place.

It would be worth dealing with the outfit under her dress for a couple more hours, she was sure of it.

She looked up at the knock on her door, putting a last few touches in place before going to answer it. It always took her breath away to see him after a few days apart, no matter what he was wearing.

His choice of a caracole suit and deep red silk shirt didn't disappoint, and she felt herself rurrr in response.

"You look stunning," Ulysses smiled at her as he offered a bouquet of tropical flowers.

"Thank you," she smiled back, taking the flowers. "And you look positively incredible," she added. "Make yourself comfortable; I'll put these in some water and be back in just a moment." She stepped back to let him in, glad that she'd forgotten to refill the vase she had in the front room yet.

She could hear him sniff the air and rumble lightly in appreciation of the meal she had put together.

"I hope you're hungry," she smiled, putting a bit of water in with the flowers before heading out to the kitchen to get their plates. "Are you on-call tonight?" She asked him as she returned and sat down the plates with a good helping of the ceviche she'd prepared.

"No more than usual," he chuckled. "Felina knows I have a date tonight. She won't call unless it can't be helped."

"Good," Milena chuckled back. "I take it she approves of you getting out of work a bit more often then?" She teased lightly as she opened a bottle of wine and poured a glass for each of them before they started to eat.

"Whether it is to get more experience as acting Commander or actual approval for my social life," he rumbled in light amusement for the reaction he got from his niece the first time he had made her acting Commander because he had a date.

"It sounds like there might be an interesting story there," the Panther smiled. "One worth telling?"

"There's not that much to it," he admitted. "I didn't become the youngest Commander in history by having a social life to speak of. She's just wondering why I'm putting so much energy into making her ready for the promotion when I'm not even a hundred yet."

"As much as you're in the field, and given how you got the post yourself, I'm more surprised that other Commanders haven't put the energy in," Milena admitted. "It doesn't bother her, I hope?"

"Only in worrying that I might know that I'm dying and not telling her," he chuckled softly between bites of citrus-cooked white fish. "She's even more fixated on the job that I was at her age."

"Probably a good thing," Milena chuckled as she sipped the white wine. "The Ferals are an impressive family."

"Mmm, most at least," he cracked an amused smiled of his own. "We do tend to dedicate ourselves to what we pursue, for good or ill."

"I've noticed," she smirked slightly. "So, why did you decide to start pursuing a social life again?" She asked, cocking her head curiously. "From what I've heard, you haven't really dated except for years, except Mr. Khan."

"Ten years," he nodded, sipping his wine. "I still haven't, not really," he chuckled when she blinked. " I've never pursued a social life. I just occasionally meet people who are worth taking time out from work to spend time with."

"Well, then I'm honored to be on the list ... and glad I didn't try playing hard to get," she winked teasingly. "I don't know if you'd have chased me anymore."

"Unlikely," he admitted with a slight smile. "While you are a delight, I am not a particularly lonely tom."

"And there's no reason you should be one," she rumbled, openly eyeing the way his mouth moved and the play of muscle under his suit. "So, did anything interesting happen this week?"

"A few things, some of which I can actually talk about," he rumbled deeply in amusement at their near-traditional exchange. There was something to be said for someone who understood security and that not talking did not mean the same as not trusting. "The big one you probably already heard of."

"That you found Lieutenant Commander Steele's body," she nodded quietly and shuddered. "Did he really die from exposure?"

"According to the coroner, yes," he nodded and finished the last bite of fish. "We're still working on how he got to the badlands in the first place, but the death itself is listed as natural causes. Heart failure brought on by heat stroke."

"It must be difficult, planning the funeral for an Enforcer who died like that ... the usual things just don't apply. He didn't have a family he was taking care of, did he?"

"No," he shook his head. "Thankfully, he didn't reproduce. Kat was not a good officer on any level," he explained quickly. "He got his rank by family influence instead of competency."

"And he was your second in command?" She asked him, her tail fluffing out as she thought about the possible consequences.

"For no longer than politics required," Feral muttered. "The Steeles had been very generous contributors to the mayor's re-election campaign, but that only lasted until they made the mistake of backing a cousin who ran against him the next time."

"Politicians," Milena chuckled, shaking her head. "Where would we be without them?"

"Probably in much better shape," he grunted. "Though my job wouldn't exist without it either. So how was your week?"

"Reasonably good... the XT-12 is just about ready for field testing, so if you've got any pilots in mind for it, now's a good time to start looking for volunteers," she offered. "I think you'll have Dark Kat licked the first time he comes up against this one," she said confidently."

"Really?" he purred deeply just at the possibility. "I know just the team to put on it," he promised. "Best pilot alive, and his gunner is downright scary."

"Give them my number, and remind them we're willing to pay them a premium for their help," she grinned. "That's the sort of team we want on the XT-12."

"Trust me, those two will make that jet do things you didn't think possible, and Clawson will come back with a dozen suggestions for improvements," he chuckled. "Just be careful about actually letting him get his hands on the jet. He's a designer and mechanical genius with no issues with massive field modifications. The Black Sun is something to see in action."

"He's the one who designed the modifications?" She asked, her ears perking up. "Our recruiters might want to talk to him, I've seen it in the news."

"Designed and implemented, all on spare time," Ulysses nodded seriously. "As I understand his recruitment record, it was the Black Eagle's team that convinced him that the Enforcers would let him customize his jet that got him to sign on."

"Well, I'll drop his name and let them know you've managed to sneak a top designer out from under our noses," she chuckled. "Assuming that wouldn't cause any trouble, at least?"

Her words made him startle slightly. "It just might," he said quietly. "Something else from his recruitment file I tend to forget. We didn't steal him, Milena. Pumadyne spearheaded the effort to blacklist him from the industry before he even worked in it. We were a very distant second choice."

"Oh...." She trailed off. "Well, that's certainly a wrinkle I hadn't been expecting," she chuckled a bit after a moment. "You... might want to wait a bit before suggesting the testing, until I know that they're not going to object. You know how blacklists can get ... it depends on if it was from design, or from the industry entirely, and why it happened."

"It's pure politics and greed, if anything of his version is believable," he nodded. "It was seven or eight years ago. Jake Clawson is his name."

"I'll ask around," she murmured. "Well... I hope this hasn't broken the mood entirely?" She asked with a half-chuckle.

"No," he smiled slightly at her and reached over to draw her hand up for a kiss. "His grief has been my gain. Frustrating, but he is an asset."

"I'm sure," she purred. "Well, with dinner finished, why don't we take the rest of this and go back out to the couch?" She suggested, picking up the wine as they both stood.

"Mmm, it sounds pleasant enough," Ulysses smiled and drew her close, kissing her neck as his hand slid down her side, detecting the edges of what she was wearing under the dress.

"Mmm ... patience, patience," she teased, turning to kiss him on the lips. "You know, if you'd rather, we can finish this in my room as well as on the couch," she purred seductively.

"If it means I get to see this," he rubbed his fingers along the edge of her teddy, "sooner, then I think so. I know how well you enjoy how I make you roar."

"Then let's go see how you like my taste in lingerie," she rumbled, kissing him deeply, her tail swishing behind her as she led the way back to her bedroom.

"Given your taste in clothing, I expect I will a great deal," he purred deeply, running a hand down her back, his groin already stirring in anticipation.

"Mmm ... the only question is if you want to do the honors, or if I should," she rumbled lowly, reaching back to unzip her dress as she walked into the bedroom.

"And what kind of night you are interested in having," Ulysses turned her around for a hot kiss as he squeezed her full breasts, fondling them though both dress and teddy.

"Mmm ... you know the kind of nights I like with you," she purred into his mouth, moaning as he fondled her breasts. "I want you to tie me up and leave me utterly used by the time I come to and remember how to undo the knots," she grinned, reaching down to fondle his firm, swelling sheath beneath his pants.

"You'll have it," he nearly moaned in anticipation and at her touch as he reached around her to finish unzipping her dress and sliding it from her shoulders to reveal the white leather and lace teddy underneath. "Oh, you have very good taste," he grinned and pushed her back onto her bed.

"I thought you'd appreciate it," she grinned back, spreading her legs to reveal the dark fur and slick pink flesh framed by brilliant white leather and lace. She raised her hands above her head, crossing her wrists near the rail of the headboard

She closed her eyes at the deep rumble and arched her back to display her chest more prominently. The touch and click of her handcuffs locking her in position quickened her breath, then the blindfold came and she opened her mouth, almost panting.

"So very sexy," Ulysses purred, nuzzling her before claiming her open mouth in a demanding kiss.

Her breath caught she returned the kiss, moaning hotly into his mouth. She thrust her hips up, pressing his fingers into her sex as they ghosted over her mons. He could get her hot so incredibly quickly like this. She was sure he was fully dressed yet, but the blindfold made it impossible to be absolutely certain, or to know what he was going to do next, and the uncertainty thrilled her.

As he broke away from her mouth, he kissed his way down her throat, pausing to suckle and nip at her exposed nipples while his fingers continued to play lightly between her legs. She could feel his suit against her fur, and the hard cock it concealed.

"Ulysses," she whimpered softly, trying to shift herself to press a leg up against his swelling shaft. "Oooh... sweet Bastet, you're incredible," she gasped as he bit one of her nipples more firmly. Her entire body trembled as he pressed his fingers down, exploring the deep crevasse between her labia's lips. His fur was slick with her juices when he slowly pressed a finger down against her clit and stroked her in rhythm to the subtle undulations of his body against hers.

After an evening of anticipation, it didn't take him long to push her over the edge. She cried out, pressing up into his touch as pleasure shot through her body and her achingly empty sex tightened around nothing.

He held his finger against her clit, rubbing it very slowly as she came down until it stopped twitching against his fur.

"You beg so very sweetly," he breathed in her ear before leaving the bed.

She could hear him undress, and that he opened a drawer to take something out, before he returned to the bed. She offered no resistance when he tucked her feet under her ass and tied her knees to opposite corners of the large bed.

"Comfortable enough?" he asked, his breath deep and heavy as he ran a claw around her clit.

"Very comfortable, Sir," she rumbled, moaning as his claw caught the sensitive nub. "Love the way you touch me," she grinned, looking towards where she thought he was.

"Good," he kissed her deeply again. This time she could feel his powerful, naked body along her completely bound and helpless one. It was exciting. It was erotic. It sent shivers up her spine just to think about what he was going to do to her before he finally wore himself out.

He moved down her body again, his powerful hands gripping her thighs as a thumb caught her outer lips and spread her sex open, exposing her to the cool air, and his hot breath.

She whimpered softly, aching for the feel of his rough tongue against her dripping sex, her scent rich and potent as he inhaled it deeply.

The first pass was slow but deep, taking her from just above her ass all the way to her neatly trimmed pubic fur. The second ended with a sharp nip to her clit. The third made her cry out as he drove his tongue deep into her body and ravaged it.

He worked her body mercilessly, his teeth pushing into sensitive flesh as his tongue dug into her innermost flesh, scraping her g-spot. Her claws raked the headboard as she strained at her bonds, whimpering and pushing into his mouth as he drove her to the limits of her endurance, and she finally screamed with her second orgasm of the night.

"Such a hot little slut for me," he rumbled, the full authority of his personality and the intensity of his pleasure in dominating her clear in his voice as he shifted over her.

She moaned, nearly a whimper, at the heat of his hard body just touching hers. Her sex wept in anticipation of his thrust, of being filled with his powerful cock. When it came, the power of his groin slamming into hers not only impaled her fully, but pushed her up the bed until the silken ropes tying her knees to the bed stopped their movement.

"Oh fuck yes!" She rowled lustily, squeezing down around his cock. "Mmm ... fuck me, Ulysses, fuck me hard!"

"You won't walk right in the morning," he promised, his hips pistoning against hers in hard, sharp thrusts that drew him almost fully out of her before driving back inside up to the root.

It wasn't long before all Milena could do was hang on for the ride, her legs aching from the strain of being pulled against the ropes tying her to the bed, the powerful tom slamming his cock into her sex driving the wind out of her as he pounded against her g-spot and cervix. She didn't even have the strength to cry out as he quickly pushed her to a third orgasm.

She was starting to come down from that when he finally let go with his first load. His roar rattled the bed and echoed in her bones, the body above her tightened and grunted with each squirt against her cervix.

He stilled when it was over, just a moment to enjoy the sensations and catch his breath. He thrust a couple more times, then pulled out of her.

Before she could think to question him, her legs were untied and pulled loose, then she was flipped over. Her chest was on the bed, her hips in the air when he drove into her again.

She roared into the pillow, scratching at the wall as he pounded into her. She could feel his seed pooling deep in her body, seeping into her deepest recesses.

"Sweet Bastet!" She gasped, savoring the feeling of being completely at his mercy and disposal, and how fully he was taking advantage of it. More of his weight rested on her as he brought his hands forward from supporting himself to slide under her and squeeze her breasts, his claws out just enough that she could feel them prick at her skin as he roared again.

She milked him with her sex, enjoying his release tremendously as he slowed and sank forward to kiss the back of her ear.

"Incredible," he murmured, nearly inaudibly. "So incredible, Janet."

She undid the cuffs, reaching back to stroke his hips, purring softly as she turned back to kiss him... and then giggled.

"So, who's Janet?" She asked, licking his nose teasingly.

"Hu?" he blinked at her, his brain not particularly inclined to dealing with speech.

"You just whispered her name," Milena nuzzled him as they shifted so she was snuggled in his arms.

"Janet," he murmured again, kicking his reluctant brain into gear. Then his entire body went stiff as it clicked into place. "I'm sorry. She was ... my first love."

"It's been a while, hasn't it?" She murmured, wrapping her arms around him and rubbing his back tenderly.

"A very long time," he acknowledged with a kiss of apology. "She was killed in action before much came of it."

"I'm sorry," she murmured. "What was she like?"

That earned her a thoughtful look and he pulled up memories from nearly four decades before.

"A gray tabby with black stripes, nearly Felina's size," he murmured, his eyes closed and mind very far away, though his body was fairly relaxed in holding her. "We stood nearly eye to eye back then, when she was the senior officer and I was a green Lieutenant fresh out of the Academy. She was all fire and steel and pissed that her new partner didn't know half as much as she thought he should to go undercover with her," he actually chuckled at the memories. "She was probably the best teacher I ever had about what being a good Enforcer really meant, and how to do it no matter what the situation.

"I hadn't thought much about her in years," he admitted. "A few months ago ... things happened to put her in mind again."

"About the same time we met?" She asked him, nuzzling his neck and rubbing his back lightly.

"A couple months earlier," he said softly. "I had to relive her murder for a case."

"I'm sorry," she murmured, kissing his jaw lightly. "That's the sort of thing you don't deserve to have brought back up again."

"So lets stop talking about it," he requested as much as suggested, pushing her back for a heated kiss.

"Mmm ... sounds good to me," she grinned, kissing him back and putting her hands back up to be cuffed again if he was still in the mood for it, and found he definitely was.

"Good run tonight," Paladin grinned at Jake and Chance as the Black Knights stripped down and headed into the showers. "You guys sure about switching to SI? You know we wouldn't hold it against you if you changed your mind," she winked at Chance.

"Honestly, it's a family choice," Chance admitted. "I want to be there for my kits. I'd love to stay a pilot, but the odds are getting to me."

"So you've been a pilot for two and a half years and never been seriously hurt, but you think your odds are better in SI, where a month and a half working with them saw you in quarantine and dealing with a homicidal demon-ghost-rapist?" Stacey deadpanned, thwapping her cousin's rump with her tail playfully. "Seriously, just who are you hoping to get a chance to sleep with over there?" She teased.

Jake almost managed to keep a strait face as they headed into the showers, but it didn't last.

"Okay, spill it," Stacy demanded, her hands on her hips and glaring between the partners.

"Stacy, honest, it's just family," Chance chuckled, shaking his head a bit as they turned on the water and began to scrub down, most teams helping each other clean up. "And based on the odds, I oughta go through the next fifty years or so without any trouble in SI," he smirked back at her.

"With your partner?" Paladin laughed playfully as Tammy scrubbed the sweat and grime of their flight from her back. "You'll need more luck than I do."

"I'm not that bad!" Jake objected from his own shower.

"Yes you are," she grinned at him with a wink. "You just blend in with flight teams, since we're supposed to be dealing with Omegas. Heck, you even attracted them in Academy!"

"Just because he already knew me," Jake countered, ducking his head slightly as Colin came over to help scrub him down and Stacy walked over to help Chance.

It stung, knowing that what Berten had done had affected Chance enough he couldn't trust him to wash his back in a room with their entire squad there. No one had asked, or done so much as blink that first day, but he knew it was on all their minds.

He wanted to think it hadn't affected anything between them, but he knew better. It hurt too much not to have done real damage to their partnership, even if it wasn't enough to alter their standing in the rankings ... yet.

The worst part was that he wasn't sure if Chance knew what it was doing or not. On the one hand, Chance could be remarkably obtuse about things like that.

On the other, sometimes there was a sort of guilty self-consciousness about it that suggested Chance knew full well what it was doing ... he just wasn't sure if it would be worse than actually talking it through. Tonight was one of those nights; he could tell all night long that Chance had known there was something wrong. He just didn't know if he was going to say something or not.

Jake closed his eyes briefly, forcing the thoughts into the same corner where he usually stuffed thoughts involving females and sex, and why he did some of the things he did.

"It'll be okay," Colin whispered in his ear and rubbed his shoulders. "He'll recover, and so will you."

Jake couldn't do much more than nod to that, hoping it was true but not really able to believe it yet.

"You are going to talk to him, right?" Stacey pressed Chance as the bigger tom cleaned up.

"Yeah," Chance nodded quietly. "Tonight," he promised.

"Good," she murmured. "Not that you're bad looking, but there's something a little creepy about being this close to you naked," she teased, earning a swat from Chance's tail.

"Ah, come on," he winked back at her, trying to lighten the mood that had taken a sharp nosedive into the morose for the entire room. "We're far enough apart it wouldn't be bad."

"I think we know the topic of conversation the next time we get Midnight to bring the kits to dinner," Tanner grinned wickedly. "That'll be an interesting subject to bring up, I'm sure - how she feels about your ah ... close family ties," he winked at both the Furlongs, getting a pair of shampoo bottles chucked at him for his troubles.

"At least they're past the genetic issues closeness," Jake snickered, grateful for the break in the mood.

"Yeah, even if the family tree looks more like a spider web," Colin snickered.

"You should see some of the noble families from the Dark Ages," Jake grinned back at him, all but daring him to ask.

"Don't you dare," Kathie groaned in warning. "I need to get those two out of the shower within twenty minutes."

"Don't worry, I remember enough about 'em," Colin chuckled as Jake turned to help wash him clean. "Family trees that looked more like knives."

"What's up?" Chance asked as he started helping Stacey with her back, rinsing his fur off.

"There's a special project that your names came up on," she hedged a bit. "It seems for all his ranting about procedures, the Commander really does think you're damn good."

"And?" Jake prompted her, his ears flicked fully forward.

"Test pilot gig for Pumadyne," she said, watching them both carefully. "The new Talon is up for trials."

Jake knew Colin raised an eyebrow when he tensed, but he couldn't help it. The mention of that company still raised his hackles.

"Does Pumadyne know our names came up?" Chance asked, trying to feel out the situation. "Last I heard, they were still pissed about us helping Manx trash the Blue Manx."

"The project manager is going to be here in twenty to talk to you to, so I expect they do," she nodded. "She's Feral's girlfriend, by the way."

"Great, so no pissing her off," Chance muttered, glancing over at Jake. "What if we say no?"

"You're even considering turning down a test pilot gig?" Tammy's eyes widened as she stared at the two Kats in disbelief.

"That company got me blacklisted from the industry," Jake muttered. "Considering turning it down? Hell yes," he nearly spat. Then he glanced at his partner and settled. "Up to Chance, though. I can work with them. It's not safe work, but it pays very well."

"It'd be a good way to make sure we've got a bit more saved up before shifting to SI," Chance murmured. "Make for a Hell of a Solstice, if nothing else," he half-chuckled. "Let's hear her out first, then decide?" He suggested to Jake. "See what their offer is."

"Deal," Jake nodded as everyone turned to finish cleaning up quickly, a mixture of excitement, uncertainty and uneasiness in the room.

They all finished drying, and Jake and Chance were on their way to the meeting room after dressing up.

"After this, can we talk a bit somewhere a little more private?" Chance asked Jake as they headed for the elevator. "Off-duty, personal ... something I've been putting off a few months too long."

"My place?" he offered. "Rock's working days right now, so he won't be home for hours after we are."

"Sure," Chance nodded easily. "Part of it will be about what happened with Berten," he warned him.

"And why you've been so jumpy since then," Jake nodded, relieved that it had only taken a few months and no actual trouble this time. "Good," he reached over to squeeze his partner's arm. "Midnight knows you'll be late?"

"Ah, yes," Chance chuckled. "She was ecstatic that I was finally going to be working some of this out."

"I can't say I'm surprised," he smiled understandingly at his partner and opened the door to the conference room they'd be meeting the Pumadyne rep in.

"Lieutenants Clawson, Furlong, please come in," the Panther waiting for them said, her manner friendly as she closed the file folder she was considering. "I hope you had a good flight?"

"We all made it back, with our jets, so yes," Chance cracked a wise-ass grin at her instead of flirting more openly.

"Fair enough," she chuckled. "How much have you been told about why I wanted to speak with the two of you?" She asked, sizing them both up, particularly Jake. She was sure they were doing the same to her.

"It's a test pilot gig with the new Talon," Chance said as they sat down, all three on the same side of the table. "And the Commander's okay with us taking it."

"He actually recommended the two of you," Milena offered. "The XT-12 is our most advanced jet since the Blue Manx, though the Commander seemed to think that your jet was at least a match for it. We would like your take on it. Both of your takes," she added, looking at the silent gunner. "I understand there is some history with Pumadyne here, but I'm hoping that there's some way we can work past that? This isn't just for Pumadyne's benefit, after all."

"The choice is Chance's," Jake nodded to his partner. "I'll work with you if he likes the deal."

"All right," she nodded slightly, turning back to the tabby. "Our standard offer would be your Enforcer overtime pay, and full medical and AD&D benefits for Pumadyne test pilots if anything should go wrong. We don't expect it however, not at this point. You would be involved in some off-duty testing to familiarize yourselves with the XT-12, and then taking it out into the field."

Chance nodded. "This is intended to replace the current Talon, or is it expected to see less of a complete takeover?"

"Initially, less of a takeover; the Black Knights, for example, or other elite flight squads. We do hope to eventually move it into production to replace the current Talons. We're willing to consider any suggestions for modifications ... if sent through proper channels for approval, even specific modifications to the design," she added.

A glance at Jake warned her that he was the wild card that Ulysses said he was, but one that could be manipulated if you were careful about it. His reaction was tightly controlled and easily missed, but she saw enough to know he was both tempted and angry.

"We'll see what we think of," Chance nodded, fully aware of Jake's reaction as well. "So we're mainly trying to make sure you have all the kinks worked out and she does what she's supposed to do?"

"Basically," she nodded. "In order to be truly confident in the XT-12, the Enforcers will have to see it in more than mock dogfights and battles. There's nothing like actually seeing a jet in action to tell you how it will behave, or so I keep hearing," she smiled at Chance. "Our test pilots might mostly come from the Enforcers, but for various reasons we do need to have actual Enforcers be the ones who test it out under live fire. Do you think the two of you are up to it?" She asked, sure that posing it as a challenge was the best way to make progress with Chance.

"Hell yes," the tabby grinned, his entire body energized. It had a desirable affect on Jake too, just seeing his partner this keyed up about something. "Will it be a problem if I have a week off next month?"

"If you've arranged it with the Enforcers that's fine, but we wouldn't pay for it," she warned him.

"I wasn't expecting you to," he shook his head. "I have it scheduled off. I wasn't sure if it would matter to the project or not that I wouldn't be available."

"That's fine; we have other tests we can schedule during that period," Milena told him. "However, we would appreciate it if the two of you can get some flight time with it, and we can get your initial impressions. It would be a good time to make any changes that are necessary after that."

"No problem," Chance grinned winningly at her. "Are we going to be pulling our regular shifts, or is this an official assignment?"

"This is an official assignment," Milena said easily. "However, in a few weeks we actually expect that you'll be back with your regular shift, just in an XT-12 until the testing is complete. Would the two of you like to take copies of the contracts home to consider before signing them?" She asked, looking between them. "It's our standard agreement, but I wouldn't blame either of you for wanting to take a bit of extra time."

"Yes," Jake reached out for one, though it was clear the sentiment was echoed in his pilot.

"Definitely," Chance nodded. "Who should we contact with questions, and when? We keep "

"You can contact me, or leave me a message, any time you have questions or make up your minds," she said easily, pulling out a pair of business cards for them. "If you have specific questions about the clauses of the contract, you might also want to contact Aaron Watson, our lead HR lawyer. His number is on the back of those two cards."

"Thank you," Jake inclined his head to her.

She was sure he'd just committed their names, numbers and business details to memory.

"Your squad leader, Lieutenant Firetail, has done flight testing for us before. She can probably give you good information as well. For now, are there any other questions I can answer for you?" she offered.

"We'll check with her if we've got anything that comes to mind, I think," Chance said easily. "Thanks for the opportunity, Miss...?"

"Stewart," the Panther said easily. "Milena Stewart. Thank you, both of you, for considering the opportunity." She stood along with them, shaking their hands. "One last thing; you will both be recognized for your contributions to the XT-12," she added as she shook Jake's. "Whatever capacity you end up helping us in with it."

"Thank you," Jake nodded, though he wasn't entirely convinced it would happen.

"We'll be in contact in a few days," Chance promised before they headed out, both of them thinking heavily about what they had just been offered.

"I've got a lawyer cousin who can give us an honest scoop on these," Chance said as the door closed to the condo Jake and Rock lived in. He'd been here before, of course, but the decor had changed a bit. It seemed like most of the new additions were paintings by the same artist, and with the same subjects.

The scenes brought to mind why he was here a little too strongly for his taste too.

"That'd be great, though I doubt it's anything too weird," Jake said as he set his contract on the front table. "Care for something to drink?"

"No, but it's worth a look anyways ... especially since he'll be as suspicious as we ought to be," Chance chuckled. "Sure, but nothing complicated tonight ... whiskey and soda if you've got it."

"I'm sure we have that," Jake chuckled and opened up the liquor cabinet that had come with Rock. It didn't take long for him to find the right bottle in the well-organized space. "Warm or cold soda?" he asked as he considered what he wanted. "And how sober do I want to stay tonight?"

"Cold ... and it's your call, but sober enough you can make decisions? It's ... I don't think anything tonight's going to fuck things up any worse than they already are."

"Right," Jake nodded and went to fetch the soda for Chance and some orange juice for himself to mix with a couple splashes of vodka. "So," he offered the soda to his partner and waited for him to mix his drink to taste and take a long drink. "Ready to talk?"

"Yeah," Chance nodded, taking a deep breath and trying to relax. "First off, I want to say I'm sorry about how I've been acting the past few months. You ... you didn't do anything wrong, and I've been an ass about it."

"Apology accepted," Jake smiled gently at him and motioned him to sit down on their leather couch. "Thank you."

Chance sat down on the couch next to him, the tip of his tail twitching nervously.

"First thing I should probably tell you about is what happened," he decided. "While Feral and I were taking out Berten, there was a stretch where we thought we'd gotten him and were just still in one of my dreams. It was about the time that things got really ugly for Feral... we got split up, and while Berten was working Feral over, he...." Chance sighed and snorted all at once, deciding to just spit it out. "He had you rape me in the dream, in the showers. And ... and I killed you, to stop you," he admitted, lowering his eyes.

Jake held still. He wasn't sure whether to be disturbed or not that he'd guessed right. He reached over to put a hand on Chance's leg and squeezed gently. "Do you think you'll be okay being partners again now?"

"Yeah," Chance smiled shakily, taking Jake's hand. "It's just ... really fucked up in my head sometimes, that's all. I know I can trust you, but that bastard dug up some nasty stuff in the back of my head, warped it, and threw it at me ... Feral got it worse," he murmured.

"You ... know everything that happened to him?" Jake hesitated, trying to grasp what it would mean to have that much insider information on their Commander.

"Everything in the dream, anyways, and I am not telling anybody," Chance said, shuddering. "Shit, Jake ... it was royally fucked up. I almost...." His voice caught in his throat and he shook his head. "Doesn't matter, it didn't happen."

"It matters to you, and probably him," he said quietly, a hand on Chance's shoulder. "Whether it happened in the physical world or not, it did happen to you two. The past few months should be enough proof it's affecting you," he sighed and dropped his eyes. "Sorry, but I have some experience with this kind of thing. It doesn't usually help to deny it's real."

"I know, but...." Chance sighed, leaning his head back. "Jake, after what happened with you, and I ... helped the Commander, Berten had things set up so that I almost killed myself to keep myself from raping Feral. I did end up killing an old girlfriend of his to get away ... think she's already dead, in the real world, but she wasn't in there. So ah ... you can see why I'm not too eager to face what that might say about me," he chuckled weakly.

"I can understand," he murmured with a nod. "I do think it says a lot of good things about you, Chance. You can focus on what you did ... or what you didn't do. What I'm hearing ... you're probably a better Kat than I am, in a lot of ways that count."

"For what it's worth ... I don't think you'd have been able to do what Berten wanted me to do," Chance chuckled slightly. "So... different topic?"

"Sure," Jake let out a small breath of relief. "But if you ever want to talk about how these kinds of things mess things up ... I'm here for you, okay?"

"Okay," Chance smiled. "But for now... I'm willing to let it drop for now, gladly. So, different topic... are you still interested in me, sexually?" He asked, trying to get through the question before he lost his nerve.

Jake blinked, too startled to even think for a moment. Then he looked his partner over, the condition he'd kept up on, and nodded. "Yes, you're still a very attractive tom."

"Good to know you think so," Chance chuckled weakly. "I've talked it over with Midnight ... I want to get over the last of the BKK. I'm not really that into toms, but the only reason I'm against it so much is because of that bastard ... and it's not fair to anybody, let alone me, to let him win that point. I'd like to try being with another tom ... and you're the only guy I can think of I'd be willing to trust without any serious reservations."

"Thank you," Jake said, truly honored by it. He looked up, meeting his partner's eyes. "Do you have any requests?"

"Anything you think I oughta try doing with a guy at least once?" Chance suggested, blushing deeply beneath his fur. "Just remember I'm not that kinky ... and promise that it's just going to be a one time thing, unless everybody involved wants otherwise."

"One night, I promise," Jake said as he leaned forward for a gentle kiss. "No kinks at all, buddy. Kinky is only for those who ask for it."

"Thanks," Chance murmured, returning the kis. "Uhm... when is Rock expected back? I'd never hear the end of it," he blushed.

"I'll call him, ask him to crash elsewhere," Jake gave him another light kiss and stood. "Why don't you get comfortable in bed while I get a few things together? I won't give him any details," he promised.

"Sure," Chance said. "You ah... if he doesn't have anywhere else to crash, you might let him know that Midnight'd be glad to have him over. She already offered when I mentioned this to her," he explained as he stood and started back towards the bedroom.

"I'll pass it along," he smiled, then chuckled. "Though we might not want to let our mates have that much time to plot their next event," he teased with a playful wink, trying to lighten the mood. Of all the ways he thought he might end up in Chance's bed, this was one that hadn't made it.

"Are you kidding? Next thing up'll probably be the next litter of kittens, that we can let 'em plot safely," Chance snickered, walking back to the bedroom, looking around a bit to find it as he unbuttoned his shirt.

He couldn't help but notice that his hands were shaking like leaves as he did it. He tightened them into fists, fighting to keep control. He'd have to be careful how he did this. Have to make sure that he got used to the idea some way that Berten hadn't taken him.

Heh ... now that was a Hell of a thing to have to say. 'Don't mount me like that, that's how I got raped last time.'

He stripped off his shirt, and glanced around the bedroom, trying to imagine the sort of things that had happened there, putting himself in Rock's place ... and quickly dropping that idea as he remembered the sort of things that Rock and Jake did.

By the time he got his jeans off, he needed to sit on the bed just to steady himself.

What the hell was he thinking, asking for this?

"At least he has Rock," he caught himself saying out loud what he'd felt for a long time. He wasn't sure he could have taken Jake's interest in him for all these years if he'd stayed single.

Of course ... if he had, then Chance wouldn't know nearly as much as he did about Jake's kinks. He'd promised to leave them out, but it was still enough to know that Jake, in some part of his head, probably wanted to bring it into things.

He took a deep breath and closed his eyes, laying back on the bed.

"Jake isn't going to hurt you, you twit," he growled lowly to himself and nearly jumped out of his skin when he heard Jake's footstep close enough to have heard him.

"You aren't a twit, but you are right," Jake said with a slight smile as he set a couple things down on the nightstand. The lube caught Chance's attention the most, until Jake took the other item and put it into the VCR. "I thought you might appreciate something a bit more familiar while you get used to the idea of being next to another tom."

"Oh really?" Chance chuckled slightly, making room for Jake on the bed. "What've you got in mind? He asked, taking in Jake's nude body. From behind, it wasn't hard to think of him as attractive, and it wasn't the first time he'd noticed it either. It was just when he turned around and Chance saw the sheath and flat chest waiting for him that he'd always shut down before.

He had to try and stop that tonight. At least for this night.

"Start with some porn you'll probably like," Jake winked as the video started, and its female component was immediately obvious. "Just try and relax, touch," he purred and snuggled up against his partner's side. "Enjoy the show for a bit."

"Right," Chance chuckled slightly, snuggling back against Jake as the camera backed out to include the two guys the shekat was seducing. "We don't have to tell the other guys in the squad, right?" He asked, glancing at Jake. "It's not that I'm ashamed of this or anything, but...."

"You don't want anybody to think you're available," Jake nodded. "I wasn't planning on it. They'll just be grateful that I can scrub your back again," he said as he ran a hand down Chance's broad chest, so very similar to a much more familiar one it encouraged his boldness in progressing to more private parts.

"Right," Chance murmured, letting his own hands explore Jake's body more slowly. So familiar, from cleaning up in the showers together for the last few years, and yet so alien in this context. "I am sorry about that," he said, kissing Jake lightly as skilled fingers played along his sheath.

"I do understand, buddy," Jake murmured into the kiss.

"Good," Chance murmured, purring lowly as Jake's fingers started to stir his interest, running his own hands down to his ass, kneading it with his powerful fingers before reaching forward to fondle Jake's balls lightly.

"Oh yeah," Jake moaned, shifting his leg to give him easier access as he focused on not reacting too fast or strongly and scarring Chance off.

"You ever have any fantasies you want to tell me about?" Chance asked, nuzzling Jake's neck and inhaling his scent, the strong male arousal that slowly helped to stir his interest.

"Something I hope to get to later," his breath quickened as he played his fingers along his partner's hardening shaft. "I'm on hands and knees, your hands pinning mine down, and you fuck me so hard I can't walk right."

"We'll see about it," Chance chuckled slightly, licking Jake's long jaw. "Jake... when you top me, I won't be able to do it like that," he said apologetically. "Either have to be face to face or with me on top ... something like that, anyways," he murmured, sliding his fingers up Jake's sheath to finger the entrance to it lightly.

"Ohhh...." Jake's voice was stolen for a moment as his eyes closed. "No problem," he managed to get out, his body responding quickly to the touch and mounting arousal next to him.

"Good," Chance rumbled. He was slower to respond, though his sheath was starting to fill out as Jake's shaft slid out and he took it in his hand. On the TV, the threesome was already well into the action, the well-endowed blonde white shekat beneath the two toms.

The tabby couldn't help but wonder if it would be harder, or easier, with a female here. He hadn't wanted to do that to Midnight though, not knowing how she felt about Jake even now, and he didn't know of any other female that he'd trust enough, much less that Jake did.

He didn't fight the moan that Jake's mouth drew from him as the lean tom shifted his attention from his mouth to his neck, then nipples.

His own shaft finally started to stir as he stroked Jake's lightly, spreading his legs to let Jake at him better. He closed his eyes, focusing on the touches and the pleasant tingles they created.

He didn't bother to track time, or how often the Kats on the screen had come, before he was finally hard. Jake's mouth was as his groin by then, licking his cock, teasing the rubbery barbs that had filled out fully with his arousal, and fondling his balls with no apparent hurry to go further.

He moaned softly, rolling to his back on instinct as he stroked Jake's short hair, moving his tail so it would keep at Jake's cock as he tried to encourage the lean tom to keep going.

"Oh yeah," he moaned as Jake took his cock into his mouth, his tongue swirling around the sensitive head and purring deeply to add vibration to the pleasure.

Chance thrust up into his hot, wet mouth instinctively, his fingers caressing Jake's ears as he felt himself relax more than he had all night long. This was fairly normal for him ... he'd even done it with Jake before, once.

"Remember that night at Kathie and Tanner's?" He asked with a groan.

He felt more than heard the affirmative rumble and Jake's grin.

"Mmm... never thought I'd get closer than that to what we're gonna do tonight," Chance grinned down at him. "Want me to return the favor after this?"

Jake slowly drew his head up from the tabby's groin, taking his time to give attention on the way. "I was hoping you'd be willing," he grinned back, real pleasure in his eyes at his partner's healing before he went back down to focus all his energy on blowing Chance's mind.

His hand worked Chance's balls and ass lightly, with a skill that Midnight couldn't quite match that came from knowing what he liked as much as what another guy would. Between mouth, tongue, and fingers, it wasn't much longer before Chance's grip on his scalp tightened, and the tabby's balls pulled up, spewing their thick, bittersweet contents into Jake's mouth.

Chance continued to grunt and thrust up as Jake swallowed it all and licked him clean. Without a word Jake moved up his body, nearly lying on top of him as he claimed a long, lingering kiss.

Chance kissed him back, willingly deepening the kiss before he rolled over on top of Jake and started kissing his way down his jaw and chest.

"Oh yeah," Jake moaned, relaxing into the contact as he reached down to caress his partner's broad ears.

"Feel free to give me some pointers," Chance grinned up at Jake, nuzzling his abs and reaching between the cinnamon-furred tom's thighs to finger his anus. "This end I've never been on before."

"You're doing fine so far," Jake moaned, rocking his hips up a bit to give better access to the sensitive parts of his body.

"Glad you think so," Chance purred, pushing a finger up into Jake's ass and licking and nibbling lightly at his cock, trying to remember some of the tricks Midnight had for him, or that he'd used prepping fems for what was going to come.

"I don't need prep," Jake told him, even as he moaned at the contact. "Think of a popsicle, how you suck it from bottom to top."

"Maybe not, but I think you're enjoying it," Chance grinned before licking Jake's cock from bottom to top, drawing his conical tip into his mouth and pushing down until Jake's shaft hit the back of his throat, forcing him to back off.

"Oh yeah," he shuddered, moaning in pleasure at the experimental nature of his partner's approach.

Chance started purring a bit, getting used to doing it with something in his mouth as he explored Jake's ass with a finger, searching for his prostate. He hadn't been around guys who were into guys without picking up a few things to try.

He knew the instant he found it among the muscles and unfamiliar feelings against his finger when Jake's entire body jerked sharply.

He grinned around Jake's cock, working the gland that seemed to work so well for him and taking his shaft as deep into his mouth as he could, working his rough tongue around Jake's barbs as his partner's breath went from quick to ragged.

"Close," Jake warned him, his hands tightening on the bed sheets to avoid forcing himself down Chance's throat.

Chance pulled off, wrapping one hand around Jake's cock and reaching up with the other to squeeze Jake's hand. He started stroking his partner with short, rapid movements, licking his throbbing tip lightly.

"Thanks for the warning," he said sincerely as he tried to get him off with his hand now.

He heard something that might have been a reply swallowed by the grunting roar as Jake came hard. A bit landed on Chance's chin, but host of it splashed onto Jake's chest.

Chance hesitated for a moment, then leaned back down to lick Jake's shaft clean, sliding up to snuggle against him while Jake caught his breath and relaxed.

"So, good?" He asked with an uncertain grin.

"Yes, good," Jake gave him a lopsided, playful grin that turned into a lingering kiss. "Now, I know what I'd like next, but it's your choice."

"Mmm... what've you got in mind for options?" Chance purred slightly into Jake's mouth. Sure he had an idea of some of what Jake had in mind ... but then, given Jake, he couldn't really be that sure.

He knew about options Chance had never imagined.

"Well, I want you to mount me and fuck me hard, and you did ask to be fucked this once," he purred in returned, his body welcoming and compliant to his partner's touch.

"Why don't we start with you inside me," Chance murmured, the tips of his claws running down Jake's back lightly. "Then I'll make sure I give you everything I've got after that," he promised, kissing Jake gently as he rolled to his back, drawing the cinnamon tom up on top of him.

"Works for me," Jake smiled down at him and claimed a kiss before slipping backwards, kissing the tabby's powerful body on his way. "Just let me know if you'd like me to hurry up at any point."

"I'll let you know, but for once I think I'm good with going slow," Chance blushed a bit, spreading his legs and lifting them out of the way.

"Good," Jake kissed the tip of his still-hard cock before reaching over for the bottle of lube and set it nearby. "I do have a taste for slow, sometimes," he purred and settled down to apply his tongue to Chance's tight, furless pucker.

Chance groaned, a bit of tension running along his body along with the pleasure as Jake started to work on pleasuring and stretching him out.

"Jake ... if I have to ask you to stop...." He blushed deeply at admitting it was even a possibility, but he knew he was playing with some fucked up parts of his head here.

"I'll stop, no questions, buddy," he promised before carefully sliding the slick side of his tongue around his ass again.

"Thanks," Chance moaned lowly, tightening his grip on the sheets. "Nnngh ... Jake? Did you ever do any of this with Midnight?" He asked, looking for something to keep his mind just distracted enough he couldn't over think things.

"No," he said, most of his attention on slowly relaxing and making the tight pucker in front of him tingle. "She's never liked anal."

"Mmm ... so it wasn't just Allen who did that," Chance murmured as his anus winked at Jake. "Good to know, I think. How'd you find out you like it so much?"

"No, she's never liked it," Jake chuckled a bit. "It sort of comes with preferring guys. My first boyfriend introduced me, and it went very well."

"Well, you're doing a pretty good job of convincing me I've been missing something," Chance chuckled as his shaft twitched against his abs lightly, his tail twitching against Jake's side. "For when it comes up, you prefer having a guy come inside you, or on you?" He asked, his breath hitching as Jake's tongue found a particularly good place.

"In me," he purred, taking the opening to press his folded tongue into his partner. "And Midnight's pretty good at this, if you decide you like it."

"I'll keep it in mind," Chance groaned, wrapping a leg around Jake's back lightly as his ass began to tingle in a serious way. "Damn that feels weird...."

"Good weird?" Jake asked as he spread some lube on his fingers.

"I think so," Chance nodded. "This usually part of the prep, for most guys?"

"Only when you're taking it really slow," Jake continued the efforts with his tongue for a moment before circling the twitching, tingling flesh with a lube-coated finger. "Or you're with someone who loves it and want to indulge them. Most guys will just lube and stretch you a bit."

"You want me to do it before I get going?" Chance asked with a low groan as Jake pushed against his still-tight pucker.

"You can," he rumbled softly. "I'd rather you try whatever turns you on that's too rough for Midnight, or that she doesn't like."

"I'll see if anything comes to mind," Chance grinned down at him, biting his lip as Jake's finger slipped into his ass. A moan came quickly when the lean tom slowly slid his mouth down around the tabby's still-hard cock.

He reached down, rubbing Jake's head again, scratching his scalp as he thrust up into Jake's mouth, and back down onto his lubed fingers as he was stretched, probed, and sucked off.

It wasn't long before Jake found his prostate and pressed against it, moving his fingers so that every time Chance came down on them he hit again.

Chance gasped sharply as the pleasure shot through him, the first time he'd ever felt that sort of stimulation in reality. It didn't take him long to come with a roar, pumping his seed into Jake's hungry mouth again, his ass tightening around the fingers penetrating him.

"Mmm, you like?" Jake purred as he cleaned up his partner's cock with his tongue and finished stretching him out.

"I think I do," Chance groaned, panting slightly to catch his breath. "Still feels weird, but good."

"Good," Jake gave him a long, slow lick up his cock and pulled his fingers out. "Ready for the real thing?"

"I think so," Chance grinned, a little more shakily now. "How do you want me?"

"Just like this is fine," Jake smiled down at him as he shifted to press the tip of his cock against his partner's anus, all the while watching for panic as he stroked the tabby's cock to keep him hard.

It wasn't panic, but there was something a little strange in the way that Chance pulled his face close for a kiss, the tension that ran through him.

Jake groaned, his body keyed up and ignored for long enough it was an actual effort to push forward slowly. This was not the time to give in to his body's demands.

What a way to have a first time with a virgin.

The worst way, really ... a virgin wouldn't know one way or the other what he really thought about being topped by a tom. Chance knew full well what he thought of it, and it wasn't good.

All he had to do was change that ... well, at least Chance was willing to have his mind changed.

Chance groaned lowly as his ass stretched out around Jake's barbed shaft, the lube making the stinging pain more bearable as his partner sank himself into Chance's body with as much care as he knew how to.

"Fuck, Jake," he moaned, his body tightening on reflex to try and push out the intruder as Jake slowly withdrew, then pressed forward again, this time angling for the small nub of Chance's prostate.

He knew the instant he hit it; Chance's reaction was unmistakable, a sharp gasp, his body arching up, rubbing his own hard cock against Jake's flat, well-muscled abs.

"Oh, yeah," Jake groaned, the rocking of his hips coming more easily as Chance's body accepted him. Each thrust was perfectly placed, determination holding him back from coming until he got his partner off. "Sweet Bastet, you're incredible."

Chance tried to say something, but it was lost in a roar as he sprayed his seed up between them, the thick, sticky juices smearing in their fur and matting it as their bodies kept moving to the rhythm that brought them to the peak of pleasure.

Only a few more thrusts into the pulsing, spasming ass and Jake roared, emptying his balls into his partner's guts.

"Oh yeah," Jake panted as they both came down slowly.

"Whoa," Chance panted, rubbing Jake's back as he gradually pulled out, leaving the tabby feeling the open emptiness and seed oozing from his ass. "That was one of the weirdest orgasms I've ever had," he added after a moment, kissing Jake lightly, licking his cheek.

"Glad it worked for you," he purred, nuzzling the buff tabby so similar and yet so different from his lover.

"I'm kinda surprised it did," Chance admitted, returning the nuzzle. "Mmm ... so, I seem to remember you had a fantasy I'd promised to make come true for you tonight?" He grinned.

"Oh yeah," Jake grinned, kissing him soundly.

"What sort of prep you want?" Chance asked as he twisted to put his partner under him.

"None," Jake squirmed to put his ass high, his tail waving against the tabby's chest.

"You ... of course you're sure," Chance chuckled slightly, guiding his cock up to Jake's tight pucker, gripping his hip with his free hand and pressing forward with a low groan. "Nnngh ... damn you're tight, kat!"

"You really don't get much ass, do you?" Jake all but purred, squeezing his body down around the intrusion he enjoyed so much.

"Not lately... and definitely not without lube first," Chance groaned, leaning forward and gripping his partner's wrists, pinning them to the bed as he started to thrust.

"Yes," Jake all but hissed, thrusting his hips back against his lover's. "Fuck me, Chance," he demanded. "Take me."

Chance didn't need to be told twice; he started to thrust as hard and fast as he could stand, knowing he was with a partner he couldn't really hurt if he wanted to.

Chance groaned lowly at the mouth around his rigid shaft the next morning. His hands finding their way down to whoever owned the skilled, hot mouth working him expertly. His balls were twitching as he came to enough to do more than just enjoy the sensations, and he knew it wouldn't be too much longer before his lover got a tabby-flavored appetizer to start off breakfast.

"Mmm ... yeah," he groaned lowly, trying to remember how soon he had to be in for work today, if he did. "Damn, Midnight...."

His hands were trying to tell him something, that something wasn't right with what he thought was going on, but the pleasure overrode that half-formed thought until after he roared and offered a full load of his seed for the efforts.

Only as he was coming down did it sink in. The hair in his fingers was far too short to be Midnight's.

And now he remembered why it was that the room didn't smell the same either.

"Thank you so very much for not biting when I said that," he mumbled sheepishly as Jake licked him clean.

"I was expecting it, buddy," he cracked a grin in return before planting a kiss on the tabby's cock's head. "Feel like breakfast in bed, or at the table?"

"It's your house, so your call," Chance chuckled a bit. "Though personally, I kinda think 'in bed' sounds good ... still not sure about standing," he said with a wise-ass grin.

"In bed it is, then," he purred and slid out of bed to fetch the meal, his tail waving seductively as he walked away.

Chance leaned back in the large bed with a groan as he watched Jake leave with... well, with more of a sense of appreciation that he'd had before, at any rate.

He'd answered some questions for himself, at least. It had been a Hell of a night, no doubting that. He just wasn't sure what he thought about repeating it.

On the one hand, it had been incredible. Especially given he knew that Jake was perfectly happy to never top him again no matter how often they did this.

On the other hand, while he could appreciate a good-looking tom more now, there wasn't any real interest in seeing it go further. It wasn't the aversion it had been, but it wasn't that appealing either.

Maybe if Midnight was in heat and they didn't want kittens he might find that ass more desirable.

Really, the biggest appeal was that he trusted Jake completely and Jake was willing to have as little or as much attention as he was given.

He almost laughed as he realized just how little the appeal of sex had to do with sex like this. It ... really was just Jake. Something they'd done that he didn't think he could do with any other tom, not the first time. Something that was entirely outside of physical attraction, except for the fact that Jake was effeminate and sexually submissive enough that he wasn't threatening to Chance on that level.

Still, he'd broken Berten's last real hold on him. For that, if nothing else, he owed Jake a real debt.

"Now that is a thoughtful face for morning," Jake commented as he came in with a sizeable tray loaded down with a Furlong-sized breakfast that clearly had not come out of the freezer.

"Yeah, well it's not really a normal morning for me," Chance chuckled, taking the tray and making room for Jake in the bed next to him. "You didn't make this all from scratch, did you?" He asked Jake hopefully.

"No," he chuckled and snagged a pile of chocolate chip pancakes for himself. "Mixes save a lot of time."

"Good," Chance chuckled, starting to eat. "So, you enjoy last night?"

"A great deal," he purred deeply. "You are as good in bed as Midnight says."

"Thanks," Chance chuckled. "You uhm ... you guys don't talk about that too much, I hope?" He asked, raising an eyebrow slightly.

"Don't worry, she just gets this dreamy look on her face sometimes and it comes up," he reached over to scritch the tabby's jaw playfully. "I just hear enough to know she's really happy with you as a mate."

"That's good," Chance chuckled. "Jake... thanks, for dealing with me last night. The last couple months too," he added.

"You're welcome," Jake smiled between bites. "I'm really glad the worst is over with though. You're no fun when you're moody."

"Yeah, I've noticed," Chance admitted. "Feel free to swat me upside the head next time, 'kay? I knew you wouldn't have done any of that, it was just screwing me up inside."

"If I'd thought it would have helped, I would have months ago," Jake chuckled slightly. "So what did you think of last night?"

"It's... a little weird," Chance admitted. "I liked it, but not the way I usually do. That make any sense?" He asked him.

"Yeah, it does," he nodded. "Kinda like it is for me and fems, I expect."

"Yeah, I think so," Chance nodded. "Anyways... I won't way it's something I'll never do again, but I don't think it's likely. Don't think it's that likely with you especially," he admitted. "I... last night worked because it was with you. But I don't like the feeling that I'd be stringing you on, knowing how you used to feel. Even if you are getting a regular dose of Furlong now," he chuckled, trying to lighten things up a bit.

"It works for me," Jake nodded with an easily smile for him. "I never expected once after I learned you didn't do guys, and as you said, I get a regular dose of strong lover."

Chance was going to say something, but caught just a hint of his partner trying to work up the nerve to say something. He didn't say anything, not yet. He had a feeling it wasn't going to take three months for Jake to get up to it.

"You know I'm working on my issues with shekats, right?" Jake glanced over at him.

"Yeah," Chance nodded. "Wondering about Midnight, maybe trying to sire a litter by her some time?" He guessed.

"At least a partial litter," he nodded. "I wanted to check with you before I even mention the possibility to her."

"I'd be okay with it, Jake," Chance smiled. "Partial litter especially ... could be a Hell of a heat for her, if we both showed up for it," he chuckled slightly. "And for what it's worth, I'm pretty damned sure she'd be willing. She's still got a soft spot for you, y'know," he grinned.

"I know," he ducked his head slightly. "I wouldn't have thought of it if she wasn't. Might be hard on your though, after a round with both, or even all three of us, tending to her."

"Jake, as much as you've helped with the kittens that aren't yours, I think I can count on you and Rock to help out a bit with any that are," Chance chuckled. "Besides ... even if she had an absolutely massive litter, it'd only really push up the size of the family by about a year."

"Thanks," he let out a small breath of relief. "Just let me bring it up with her, okay? I'm not ready, even if I can see that I will be in time."

"No problem," Chance agreed easily. "Just don't worry about it from my end; I'm used to the idea of raising kits that aren't necessarily mine by blood. Were you serious about you and Rock joining in?" He asked with a half-grin.

"Assuming she's willing," he nodded. "He's not likely to have kittens otherwise, at least not anytime in the next couple decades."

"Fair enough," Chance chuckled slightly. "I don't think he's that worried about 'em, honestly, but I wouldn't mind. Trust me, Jake, the kits would hardly be the first with Furlong blood to be siblings and cousins all at once.

He raised an eyebrow. "I knew it was common enough among the Karalanol, but not anywhere around here."

"Not that common maybe, but when we live as close together as we do sometimes, a couple-three times a generation isn't that strange. It's more common for a Furlong fem to take two brothers or cousins as mates than for two toms to be involved in the same litter, but my folks wouldn't bat an eye, at least."

"Or Rock's," he nodded with a slight chuckle. "Hers would, but they're still getting used to the second litter concept, much less what she is trying for."

"Five litters," Chance agreed, shaking his head a bit. "That's a bit big, even by our standards, but... well, you know how I am with a fem in heat. Even if I wanted to, it'd be hard to say no."

"Your only hope is that she'd respect the no given beforehand," Jake snickered. "Otherwise you'd have a new nation before she ran out of eggs."

"Hey, maybe Furlongs'll out number Ferals in the Enforcers in a couple decades then," Chance grinned unashamedly.

"It'd be Ravens, but I wouldn't be surprised," he grinned back. "Unless you mean your cousins will start joining more often with such a well-known member to look up to."

"Pff - I might have a swelled head sometimes Jake, but it's not that big," Chance laughed as he worked on his breakfast.

"Depends on who you ask," Jake winked at him.

"C'mon, let's finish breakfast," Chance chuckled, shaking his head. "I know Midnight's going to want details as soon as we're alone to talk about 'em," he chuckled.

"Which will lead to you having to wear her out too," Jake snickered and settled down to finish breakfast.

"What do you think he wants?" Chance glanced at his partner. "I know we haven't gotten in trouble recently."

"Maybe he just wants an update on the XT-12 tests," Jake suggested as they waited for the elevator to stop. "Or it's about that rumor that just won't go away."

"Pff," Chance snorted. "Last two times we've dealt with the Ghosts or Feral, Feral's either been royally pissed or almost killed ... I don't think they'd really want us, with that sort of track record."

"There's also the part where he'd want to keep you close given what you know about him," he countered quietly. "I bet you know things that Khan doesn't."

"I do, unless he's told Khan since," Chance confirmed quietly. "He's got more from my head than I do from his, and that's damned scary when I think about it too much. I know what I got out of him too." The tabby sighed. "He's gone through so much, Jake. Surprised he can put up with all of it."

"Same can be said for both of us, buddy," Jake pointed out with a slight smile. "You've been through a lot too, especially when you remember he's over twice your age."

"Yeah, but most of what I've been through ... not near as many funerals, or losing as many people," Chance murmured, then shook his head. "C'mon, let's just find out what's up and go from there. Last thing I need is his problems on top of mine," he half-joked as the elevator opened and they stepped out.

"Very true," Jake nodded, step in step with his partner without thinking about it.

"Go in, they're waiting," Lt. Ember Sharpclaw nodded towards the Commander's door without so much as looking up at the pair.

"I don't think we've ever gotten yelled at this quickly," Chance quipped before settling down again and heading for the door, pausing briefly before opening it to make sure his uniform was up to snuff before he walked in and snapped his Commander a sharp salute.

He knew at one glance they weren't in trouble. He was just as sure whatever was to come wasn't something the officers already in the office were completely comfortable with.

"At ease," Feral nodded to them and motioned for them to sit. "I'm sure you remember Ashley and Recka," he nodded towards the Snow Leopard and Panther females standing nearby in full dress uniform. "Tell me what you know of the Ghosts," he asked evenly.

"What most of us know," Chance said. "They're y- the Commander's personal Enforcer unit, the ones who handle things for him when he needs to know that the mission will be done. Rumor has it that 'and he doesn't care how' is a part of that too, but they say that about a lot of units."

"I've also heard that they do the things that the Enforcers need done, but can't handle officially," Jake said. "Testing black projects, gathering intel on foreign soil, sanctioned assassinations, training insurgent forces," he paused, trying to think of what else he was fairly sure of.

"All that, and more," Feral nodded. "Recka put your names forward to watch five years ago. The watching is now over. There is a place in the Ghosts for both of you."

Chance was still surprised, despite the fact that they'd been hearing rumors about it for months now. He squelched his first response for now; this wasn't the time to look for the catch. Instead, he searched for some other appropriate response.

"Sir, we're a pilot-gunner team," he pointed out, finding the first thing that came to mind. "I've never heard of a flight team on the Ghosts."

"You have also put in for a transfer to SI," Feral replied evenly. "Your skills in the air will be well-used, but you would not be a dedicated flight team anymore," he acknowledged. "The Ghosts have a wide variety of skills, and I use them all."

"Yes sir," Chance nodded slightly. "What will our new duties be?" He asked, trying to put together just what this would end up doing to his life.

Whatever else, it would definitely be a move up in the ranks. Few things were more prestigious or better paid than a pilot, and a Ghost was it.

"In short, whatever I need you to do," Feral actually smiled slightly. "Typically, you will spend half your time in the air with the Black Knights or another squad to keep your skills up. The rest will likely be investigating cases that require special attention. Clawson will be spending more time in a workshop developing tools for our use."

There was no missing Jake's surprised, and somewhat pleased, expression, his ears perking up and eyes lighting up in a way few things in the Enforcers could manage.

"He got a look at your arsenal when we were after Berten," Chance explained quietly. "Who will we be reporting to after the transfer, sir?"

"For now, Lieutenant Commander Recka Thomas," he nodded to the Panther standing by quietly. "Once you have settled in, Lieutenant Commander Ashley McKysn as the CO of the Ghosts," he indicated the Snow Leopard standing next to Recka. "Your orders will typically come directly from myself or Lieutenant Commander Felina Feral."

"Understood," Chance nodded crisply. "Commander ... earlier, Jake mentioned assassinations as one of the things the Ghosts handle. They don't happen often?" He asked hopefully.

"Five in my tenure as Commander," he answered truthfully. "You would not be a preferred choice for the job, either. I have two snipers and a dozen others who have more experience killing up close and personal that I would select first."

"Good, I think," Chance said, letting out a breath. "I'll be honest, it's not something that I like, though I can see the need for it sometimes."

"No one here likes it, Furlong," Feral said firmly, his gaze even on the buff tabby. "It is very much a necessary evil at best."

"Yes, sir," he nodded.

"Understand this. If I order you to kill, I expect it done. Know that it will be because I have no better choice. Not all Ghosts are suited to all jobs a Ghost does. I rely on Recka and Ashley and my own knowledge of my Ghosts to select the right Ghost for the job when we have the luxury of choosing. It is important that they know your morals and limits as well as you do."

"Understood, sir," Chance nodded. He did, at that. He'd have to be sure they understood just what his limits were before it came up ... though if it did, it would mean he was very wrong about what his Commander was willing to do.

"Do you have any more questions for me, before I turn you loose with them for a proper debriefing?" Feral asked, looking between them, but especially at the lean tom that had been largely silent so far.

"How much oversight will my design work have?" Jake asked, looking for a question he didn't think the other two would have the answer to.

"Ashley and myself in general. Others may be called in for a specific project if we deem it necessary." Feral nodded to him. "You will own the patents to anything you create, with the provision that you do not block the production of what I wish put into production. Ashley will give you the full legal package before you leave today. I suggest you discuss it with an independent intellectual property lawyer before signing it."

"I will," Jake nodded. "Thank you, sir, I just don't want to get burned again if I have to work through one of the Enforcer's contractors."

"We know," he acknowledged. "If that is all, I'm turning you over to my senior Ghosts for a full orientation."

"Thank you, Sir," the two Enforcers both said before turning to the senior Ghosts and followed them out.

"Do you keep civvies here?" Recka asked them.

"In the lockers near the jet," Chance nodded easily. "Should we go change?" He asked the Panther.

"Yes," she nodded. "Meet us at the elevator on this floor," she motioned to the one they had come up in.

"Yes ma'am," Jake nodded as he and Chance entered the elevator.

"Tell me we didn't bet anything on whether or not this was how the discussion was going to go," Chance murmured as they rode down.

"You did, but not much," Jake sort of chuckled. "Kathie's going to clean up."

"Figures," Chance chuckled slightly, shaking his head. "Honestly, I'm still a little surprised ... and worried. If he's just doing this because you're a Champion and I've been in his head without wanting to be ... this could be living Hell with the others."

"Maybe, but look at what we've done too. Werewolves, Burten, PastMaster, Dark Kat, The Red Lynx, the Giant Mummies and a dozen others. We're doing Ghost-grade stuff on our own, and our names came up to watch when we started doing it. Fives years would have been right after Zach left."

"Let's just hope the others remember that," Chance chuckled slightly as they reached the hangar level and the elevator opened up. "What should we tell the others, if they ask?"

"That Feral made us Ghosts and we'll still fly with them a couple shifts a week for now," Jake shrugged. "It's as much as we know, really."

"Right... any idea why they wanted us in our civvies?" Chance asked with a chuckle. "I don't know that much about what they do off-hours ... don't know if anybody does, really," he admitted.

The Ghosts weren't easy to get real information on. Hell, he knew that half the rumors he'd heard weren't true. His look into Feral's head had proven that much; he wasn't sleeping with a single one of them. Hell, he wasn't sleeping with any Enforcer, and hadn't since before he'd made Captain.

"We will soon enough," Jake winked at him. "My guess it's so we'll relax without staring at their bars all the time. Did you notice how he addressed them both by first name? I haven't quite worked it out, but I'm pretty sure it's a Ghost thing. A trust thing for him. They didn't look at him like the other Lieutenant Commanders I've seen around him, except for maybe Felina, and she's close kin."

"Also his second, worth a lot more than the last waste of fur to have the job, and I don't think she does tense," Chance chuckled, though he nodded his agreement as they went to change. "You're probably right, though the reason they make me tense has less to do with rank and more to do with the fact that they're Ghosts."

"I know what you mean," Jake nodded as they opened their lockers and quickly changed out of uniform. "It probably helps with most new recruits though, to loose the uniforms for a while."

"Probably does," Chance nodded, changing into his civvies. "Who knows, maybe it will here too. Well, let's get going... our insurance packages still cover us if they decide to eat us, right?" He joked.

"Yap," Jake grinned at him. "We're on the clock, we're covered."

"Good," Chance grinned back as they headed back to the elevator to meet the Ghosts several stories below them on the Commander's office level. It was a silent trip, both toms with their own thoughts and questions about what they had just gotten involved in.

It was distracting enough that Chance actually blinked at the two Xanith shekats when the doors slid open.

Ashley McKysn, arguably one of the most powerful people in the city as the commanding officer of the Ghosts, was dressed in tight-fitting dark wash jeans and a pearl white halter top that was completely open in front save for the silver ring near her navel where the two sides of the silken shirt connected.

"I told you it would work," Ashley winked at Recka, who chuckled.

"You did forget we were Ghosts for at least two seconds there," the Panther grinned, her own soft violet draped-neck dress was open in two places across her front, only taking a bit of attention from the sexy flutter hem. "Come on. The lounge is clear."

"With those outfits, we could forget we're supposed to keep breathing," Chance chuckled as they followed Ashley and Recka to the small lounge, at least by Enforcer standards. The room, while well-equipped for entertaining yourself, wasn't meant for more than 20 people.

"You should see her when she's trying to pick somebody up," a tall, lanky black on gray tabby tom grinned at them from his seat on one of the couches. "Jason Blacklaw," he introduced himself, flashing sharp teeth even as he took note of Jake's interest in his form-fitting jeans and button-down shirt.

"Good to meet you, sir," Chance said. "Second in command of the Ghosts, if I'm remembering right?" He asked.

"Yes," he seemed half surprised at being recognized. "Have a seat. This is mostly a meet and greet for you to get to know us, and for us to pick up a few things that aren't in your files."

"All right," Chance nodded, taking a seat, trying to keep his attention off the two very attractively dressed shekats. Even after several years married to Midnight and getting laid most nights and most mornings, it wasn't always easy to remember to reign in his libido. It was small comfort that Jake seemed distracted by all three, as much as anyone but Rock could really distract him.

"So do you have any questions for us, to start with?" Ashley asked as she settled down next to Jason.

"Oh yeah," Chance chuckled slightly. "Wasn't sure how much we should ask the Commander about."

"First up; why were we chosen as Ghosts?" Jake asked. "Officially, and unofficially. Neither of us really fits the profile that first jumps to mind."

"You are, however, quite loyal to this city, and for Ulysses, that's pretty close," Ashley said. "You each had an event that convinced him that you are suitable. Jake, how you handled the werewolf incident while a cadet. It annoyed him, but it showed your colors well. You've matured since without loosing your dedication to what's right, or your brilliance for design. That you are a champion also factored in, as they have their own set of rules that don't always mesh well with the general force."

"Chance," Recka picked up. "You have skills to offer us, and a strong moral code, but as I expect you suspect, it was the final battle with Berten that brought you here in the end. Whatever he learned about you, he wants you close."

It was about what they'd both expected, really. A bit of good, and a bit that they weren't necessarily comfortable with. Chance had to wonder just what it was that Feral had learned, and hoped it had been good.

"Okay," he nodded. "What are the differences in how the Ghosts operate? The new rules, written and otherwise? I know that most of the guys tend to think that the Ghosts are practically another department entirely. Certainly don't socialize as much, not that we know of."

"No, we don't," Jason acknowledged. "Part is that we don't keep the same hours, part is that we have our own spaces, and a great deal is that so much of our job can't be discussed for security reasons. Most of us did socialize in our first few years as Ghosts, but as time goes on, we found we had less and less in common with our old comrades."

"In short, it's natural drift," Recka said.

"Could you be a little more specific about the rules question?" Ashley asked. "Everything I can think of is covered under security clearances. Ours go a lot higher than most Enforcers."

"You've answered the big one that isn't part of that," Chance admitted. "There's some debate over whether it's natural drift, unofficial policy to keep the Ghosts reputation for being mysterious badasses, or official policy for the same thing," the tabby chuckled slightly. "What are your hours, or do they shift the same way pilot shifts do?"

"It's not policy, it just gets tiring to have to constantly edit what you can say," Ashley said. "It's just easier hanging out with those you can talk to easily. Our hours are like Ulysses'. We have a shift, and that part is stable, but we are on call at all hours and days, even more than pilots are. Unlike him, if we get a call on off-hours, we tend to take the next shift or so off. Overall, your schedule will remain much as it is for the next few years while you are still flying with the Black Knights."

"Understood," Chance nodded. "Just so we know, how does this affect our pay and benefits? Be good to know what I'll... hey, bigger question, can I tell people about this?" He asked, realizing that it might be on the list of things people weren't officially supposed to know.

"Yes," Jason chuckled with a slight smile for them. "We have a badge you get to wear. As for pay and benefits; pay goes up in proportion to your new security clearance. You should see your take home pay nearly double at first. Your death benefits will increase similarly."

"That'll be a big difference," Chance murmured. "So what sort of things do the Ghosts do, most of the time? The only time I saw more than one of you involved in something at a time was when Berten's hanging was botched."

"That was unusual for several reasons, most of which you are aware of," Ashley nodded. "We do everything Enforcers do, and a few things they can't. Much of our day-to-day work involves taking charge and organizing an investigation or hunt that Ulysses deems important. While you will do some of this, for the next couple years at least, you will likely see little change in your duties. Becoming a Ghost isn't like transferring to SI. You have your normal duties, and the occasional extra mission."

"Right," Chance nodded slightly. "If you don't mind my asking, where were the Ghosts when that werewolf was on the loose? I don't remember seeing anybody who looked like one."

"You may not have seen me, but I was watching you," Recka cracked a grin at him. "Jason, Ashley, Terra and Vince were all around you at various times as well."

"Usually with Special Ops or with detectives," Jason chuckled. "It's where a lot of us came from originally."

"Makes sense, I suppose," Chance nodded slightly.

"When do we start our new schedule?" Jake asked.

"Technically now, however your first week currently looks like your old week, so you'll be flying with your wing as usual," Jason explained. "Next week will be taken up almost entirely by orientation, meeting most of the other Ghosts, paperwork and settling you in up here. That will be on first shift. We'll also work out your default hours for the next few months."

"Sounds good to me," Chance nodded. "Is there anything you guys want to ask us, before then?"

"Jake," Ashley leveled her gaze on the tom that had been largely silent. "We have a very good idea where your partner's moral limits are. What do you believe yours are?"

Jake blinked, still caught off guard by the question he knew he should have expected.

"I don't really know," he admitted uneasily. "I can't think of anything I wouldn't do under absolutely any circumstances."

"If you had to kill somebody close to you, for the good of the city?" Recka asked him. "We're aware of what will probably be involved in your life as one of the Champions."

"Under orders, or because I realized it?" Jake asked her evenly.

"Both," she said simply. "The situation might play out either way. If it was your mate, for example," she added.

"It's not an easy mark to make, but yes," he nodded somewhat reluctantly.

"Would you be willing to not take the shot at a target you knew was a threat, if ordered to?" Ashley asked him. "If you had a known Omega, or another Champion, in your sights, and were ordered to stand down, would you?"

"Given who the Champions are that I'd take a shot at, not likely," he told her evenly. "You do understand that I'm one of a handful of people on the planet that can actually kill Dark Kat so he stays dead? I really can't think of a reason that order would even begin to make sense."

"Dark Kat, it likely wouldn't be. We're not sure who the Champions all are, or how strongly you will be encouraged to take them out," she pointed out. "If you can fill in any of those blanks for us, it would be appreciated."

"I serve Bastet and Halikar," Jake opened with a nod. "While He is much more willing to strike early, it is still only against a clear threat. To Them, there are three kinds of Champions; allies, enemies, and bystanders. Enemies are the only kind they want me to take out, and they are less than one in five other Champions right now. All I know of are classified as Omegas as well, though I expect there are some who aren't yet. The odds that a Champion would be an enemy to Them and not us is extremely low."

"All right," Recka nodded. "What about your mate? We understand that he is being considered for something by the priests of Eshik and Marka. He gets visits from their priests from Sayden Bay, as we understand, as do some other individuals in the city that we've heard are being considered as Champions by Eshik, Marka, and Tamorl."

"We don't consider him a threat," Ashley added, before Jake could get too defensive. "But given who seems to be interested in him, we'd like to know some more details if we can. There are some dangerous elements dedicated to those gods, Tamorl especially, and they could be a threat to the two of you regardless of your relationship with them."

"It's been a topic of conversation between us for some time," Jake nodded, surprising all four Kats by how well he took the subject. "He is along the finalists to be Eshik and Marka's Champion. I'm not thrilled with the idea, but given the other finalists, he's probably going to accept it. As for Tamorl's followers ... I've had a lot of contact with them, and Him, and a fair amount with Eshik and Marka's lately. There are the nut-jobs, but even Bastet has those. It won't be fun, but it's better than the other options."

"Do you know who these other options are?" Ashley asked him. "It sounds like you're at least aware enough to make decisions about them."

"Yes, I know them," Jake nodded. "As of last year there are four main candidates, only two of which are likely finalists. I don't know much about the one in Saydan Bay, other than that she's not likely in the final running. The rest are here in MegaKat City.

"Maxwell Steele hasn't made much of an impression on anyone I know. He's an artist, and definite sadist, but as creative as he can be, he's not very focused.

"Karetha Long is the most likely choice besides Rock. I'm sure you know of her."

"I've heard of her, at least," Recka nodded slightly. "The Enforcers know about her, but she hasn't really attracted the Ghosts' attention. She was a person of interest in an SI case for a while, but not the suspect we were after in the end."

"Are you sure that it's Maxwell Steele who's the other one?" Ashley asked Jake. "If it is... well, the last thing we need are Champions with his political connections. It might be the reason you end up getting an order not to take the shot."

"Being Their Champion isn't a reason I'd take him out in and of itself," Jake said evenly. "However, if he is chosen as a Champion, and he gives me reason to kill him, I will."

"If you did, it might end up being the end of your career no matter how well he justified the action, but I imagine you're already used to the idea of ignoring political concerns. Fortunately, we don't worry about that too often ourselves. Part of the point of the Ghosts is to avoid the political concerns, for the Commander at least."

"When you have the Temples of Bastet and Halikar willing to protect you from fallout, it does tend to reduce the importance politics," Jake chuckled softly. "Even without them, you know my history. You must have some grasp on how little being kicked out actually bothers me."

"It's not going to come up either, I'm sure," Chance said firmly.

"Not if it can be helped, but it is a situation that needs to be considered," Ashley pointed out. "Champions may not be held to the same legal standards as the rest of us, but they are subject to the same political backlash as anyone else. The only thing that might lessen that is the fact that he does have powerful backers on his own side. I take it that you've made your peace with the priests then?" She asked Jake. "Your file suggests more bad blood than you've implied so far."

"We're getting there," he nodded slightly. "We aren't exactly friends yet, but it's getting better."

"Are you planning on moving your upcoming wedding to a mainstream temple then?" Recka asked curiously. "We've heard that it wasn't planned for one of Bastet's or Halikar's, though it's hard to find out just where you will be having the service," she chuckled slightly.

"I know," he smiled slightly. "No, we aren't moving it. Those who need to know get to find out where."

"Fair enough," she nodded. "Though it does bring up something we're curious about. You've been with Rock for five or six years now, and apparently a committed couple for at least the past three. Why is it that you're taking the extra step of a wedding? Rock is qualified for all the benefits you have, through the paperwork you've filed, there aren't any kits to be worried about family lines with ... it seems an odd decision, particularly keeping it as quiet as you are."

"That's because it's for us," he shrugged. "Not legalities or public approval. We invited those who are close to us. Good friends are performing it. With as public as most of my life has ended up being, I have little interest in making my wedding into a spectacle."

"Quite understandable," she smiled slightly. "Do you have any particular projects or designs you're planning on finishing up before you go off on your honeymoon?"

"The main one is going to be fairly useless for the Enforcers," he chuckled, relaxing a bit. "The next generation of stunt planes for Chance and Tamera."

"It may still end up helping us eventually," Recka chuckled. "Besides, it's a good field to keep your hand in. Do you think you'll want to go back into that eventually, maybe after you retire?"

"I've gotten interest from a couple quarters about it," he admitted. "I don't know, honestly. Assuming I survive the whole Champions things, I'm not sure I'm going to do anything but take the temples up on their repeated offers to support me and figure out how to relax and enjoy life with Rock."

"So you haven't really made any other plans for where you want to be in ten years, or a hundred?" She asked him, cocking her head slightly.

"Alive and still in love," Jake actually grinned at her with an impish wink.

"It's one of the standard questions we've got to go through," Ashley chuckled. "And you're next," she added, grinning at Chance.

"What he said, still flying," he said, thinking about how to word what he simply knew. "Out towards the hundred mark, I don't know how, but further out of the line of fire than I am. The danger of not seeing my kits grown was the biggest part of the reason we asked for the transfer to SI."

"Well, it's not quite the same as transferring to SI, but you'll find your odds with the Ghosts are a lot better," the Panther told him. "Even as a pilot, you'll find yourself with fewer straight combat flights than normal ... probably end up making drops of equipment and personnel, the occasional recon flight more often, once you're flying as a Ghost more often than a Black Knight. Still getting shot at, but by far fewer fifty-foot monsters," she chuckled slightly.

"That's a good thing," he nodded.

"It sounds like it'll be in jets I can modify more than I could our Talon too," Jake said, looking for a sense of how much freedom he'd have, and how often they'd fly the same jets.

"Most definitely," Ashley nodded. "You'll have a pretty free hand with the jets you'll be flying; you'll be in your Talon for the most part yet, but once we get a feel for the type of missions you're flying most of the time, you can start working on whatever jets you're assigned to pretty much whatever extent you wish. You'll probably end up sticking to a particular jet for given types of missions, but a Talon isn't as useful for an equipment or supply drop, for example."

"Quite true," Jake agreed, nearly purring in anticipation of getting his hands on something other than a fighter.

"I think you just sold him on just about anything," Jason chuckled. "You'll get to take a look at the hangar for our foreign op's soon, I'm sure."

"Is the one Feral promised for my smaller projects ready?" He asked with a grin.

"Why don't we go take a look and find out," Jason grinned back at him. "It should be by now, and we can take a look at what you've got in mind for it."

"You know it'll be days before you get anything but tech-jabber out of him?" Chance groaned with a playful laugh.

"That is half the point," Ashley grinned as the five of them got up to walk to the well-separated, shielded and secured workshop.

"Your father has trust issues, I think," Lyth snickered as he walked with Tamera before dusk in one of the neighborhood parks near her house. "He's good at shadowing though."

"I don't think it's you he's worried about," Tamera giggled a bit, squeezing the Acolyte's hand lightly. "He's just a little overprotective sometimes. Now, if it was Jake, it'd probably be trust issues."

"I've noticed," he nodded. "He's come around a lot lately, and he's not as angry, but he still doesn't like us much."

"It'll take some time," Tamera shrugged a bit. "He blames the Temple for a lot of trouble he's had, I guess. Midnight tried to explain it to me once. I don't think he minds you though, and I know Dad and Midnight don't," she added, looking over at him with a smile.

"I'm glad for that," he slid an arm around her shoulder and squeezed lightly. "I think I'd miss your company a lot if they did."

"I'd miss yours too," she blushed slightly. "Y'know ... you're the first friend I've made since Mom died. Besides new family, anyways," she smiled, leaning against him lightly as they walked along the meandering path through the trees and grass.

"Which is quite large, as I understand," he risked a nuzzle. "I'm glad that mess is over with, even if it means I see a lot less of you. It was ... nice ... watching you sleep."

"I felt safer there than I did anywhere else, after what happened," Tamera admitted. "But it's getting better now ... did you really like watching me sleep?" She asked him with a shy smile.

"Yes," he smiled a little shyly. "You are very petty when you are resting calmly."

"Thanks," she giggled, purring softly. "So, how come you're still hanging out with me?" She asked him curiously. "There are prettier girls at the Temple."

"Maybe, but I like you," he blushed slightly. "Most of the others ... well, I came into temple life kinda late. They all know more than I do. They're senior to me. It's nice to have someone to hang out with that isn't quizzing me on something."

"Well, maybe on you," Tamera giggled. "How long have you been with the temple?" She asked him curiously.

"Three years, since I was about your age," he said. "My folks came every day they could. When they died in a car wreck, the temple took me in so I wouldn't have to go into foster care. It's different, but I like it."

"You lost your parents too, huh?" Tamera asked him quietly, a bit more subdued.

"Yeah," he nodded. "I think it was part of the reason I was chosen to help watch you. I think they figured that if you needed some comfort on it, I could provide without coming across wrong, or something. Or maybe I just got lucky."

"I think I'm the one who got lucky," Tamera smiled a little shakily. "You didn't try to make everything better, the way a couple of 'em wanted to."

"Thank you," he purred softly. "Is Chance your only family left?"

"Well, him and the rest of his family," Tamera chuckled. "It's a little intimidating, finding out I've got enough family to swing an election and I've never met ay of 'em."

"That big?" his eyes widened as they found a bench next to a fishpond with a fountain of Mayor Manx in the middle. "Wow."

"Well, maybe not that big, but it seems that way," she shrugged a bit. "I guess the Furlongs believe in big families. My Mom's side, not as much ... Grandma and Grampa only had two kittens, and Uncle Sal died before I was born. Guess there was an accident or something, they never really talked about it and I haven't read Mom's diaries going that far back."

"That sounds more like my folks," Lyth nodded, his arm around her as they sat to watch the fish and enjoy the warm evening. "They haven't had more than one or two kits a generation for years. It seemed like they just tried until they got a daughter to carry on the family name and inheritance and stopped."

Tamera leaned against Lyth lightly, watching a fish that jumped out of the water. She wouldn't quite say it, but she was very grateful for the arm around her shoulders.

"You ever stop missing everybody?" She asked him.

"No," he murmured, his chin resting against the top of her head. "I don't think so. Three years ... I don't cry every time I think of them not being there, but it still hurts."

"Do you ever wonder if it's worth it?" She asked him softly, snuggling in closer. "Grandma and Grampa ... then Mom ... then Midnight and Chance almost ... what's ... what's the good if everybody gets killed?"

"The good?" he glanced down at her, not entirely sure how to answer that right away. "Maybe nothing more than not making those deaths be for nothing. Maybe because as long as there is life, there is hope, and we can make something beautiful in our lives."

"I just mean in getting attached," she admitted. "It's... everything's just been crazy the last few months. Guess I'm a little gun-shy," she admitted.

"Well, there's the bit where Bastet says we should not let one hurt get in the way of future pleasure," he murmured. "But really, I think it's just our nature. There's something not right with the folks who really don't form any attachments."

"I guess you're right," she murmured, snuggling up against his side lightly, just grateful for contact with somebody right now. "It's a little hard to think of it like that right now, I guess ... it's tempting to try and not get close enough to get hurt."

"Right now isn't for the rest of your life," he said softly, his hand rubbing her shoulder. "I didn't get close to anyone for a couple years, and it's still not easy to get closer than friends, but the loneliness, the desire for closeness, is winning out over time."

"I'm glad," she smiled up at him. "You're good to know. So ... what's life like for you?"

"Not much different than yours, I expect," he chuckled. "I go to public school, I do homework, I play sports. I just come home to a temple and do more studying on the gods, politics, temple law, rituals and everything else I'll need to know to become a full priest."

"What do you play?" She asked him curiously, her ears perking up.

"Hockey, soccer, some football, but it's getting rougher than I enjoy now," he thought about it. "Team tactical sports."

"What team are you playing with?" She asked him brightly. "Maybe one of these days we'll be on the same one."

"Or play against each other," he chuckled. "I'm with the Sandcats in soccer and Ice Lords in hockey."

"Don't expect me to go easy on you if that ever happens," she grinned. "You wrestle at all?" She asked him curiously.

"Not when I can help it," he chuckled. "I've learned the basics for self-defense, but beyond that it never held much appeal."

"Pity," she giggled. "Be nice to have somebody to practice with until I find somewhere that's got a team that'd let me on."

"Practice I can do," he offered. "I know folks who would have happy to push your limits too, if you want that."

"I'm sure, though I think Dad'd be willing to do that," she smiled. "Guess I'm just looking for other ways to spend more time with you," she giggled a bit.

"I'm a couple grades ahead of you, I could help you study," he offered. "Or you could just hang out," he suggested with a soft purr. "Here, your place, the temple."

"That works too," she purred, snuggling up against his side lightly. "Wrestling might still be fun sometimes though," she giggled as they watched the fish in the fountain.

"It could be, especially when you're a bit older," he said, content to relax with her against his side.

"That's a different type of wrestling," she teased, tickling his side lightly.

"Yes, but a great deal of fun when everyone wants to," he tickled her in return, though he was careful not to touch in too familiar a way with her father watching.

"You're probably right," she giggled. "I wouldn't know yet though ... maybe in a couple years," she winked before they settled back into snuggling on the bench.

"If I'm lucky," he smiled and relaxed into holding her again.

Power Games 6: Breaking Barriers

NC-17 for M/M, M/F sex
Het Level is MediumHet Smut Level is Medium
Slash Level is Slash Smut Level is Medium
Femslash Level is None
Herm Level is None

114 KB, Story is Complete, Series is Finished
Written November 24, 2007 by Rauhnee Ranshanka and Karl Wolfemann

Setting: SWAT Kats

Primary Races: Kantin, Kat

Contents: Furry. Het (M/F). Slash (M/M). Alternate Universe, Cannibalism, Supernatural

Pairings: Furlong/Jake Clawson, Chance Furlong/Midnight Raven, Jake Clawson/Rock Furlong, Ulysses Feral/Milena Stewart

Blurb: With the BoogieKat Killer a full season gone, the effects of it still linger for those closest to it, and Dark Kat's next plot is well under way.

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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