Title: If Anything Happens To Him, I’ll…
Author: Estel Baggins/Emily Carrington
Rating: M for battle scenes, sexual situations, but mostly for Jake (!) cursing
Summary: The first time Chance utters the famous words “If anything happens to him, I’ll…”
Author’s Note: I know I’ve messed up the timeline a little: Dr. Viper became Dr. Viper after Chance and Jake became Swat Kats. Forgive me- I started this before learning that. Consider it a slight AU if you want. If you aren’t familiar with the Swat Kats, here’s a short video to introduce them!
Chance wandered into the hanger earlier than usual. He’d been dreaming- for almost a month, damn it- about the kat who sat behind him in their Enforcer hunk of junk that was barely good enough to be called a plane, let alone the fighter jet Chance had been all but promised when he proved himself to be an excellent pilot.
He’d come early to be alone, and maybe mess around with the hunk of junk and coax a little more out of her. But as he strode towards the bay where his piece of junk sat- she might not be much, but no one better insult her- he heard a muffled “Son of a bitch, just let me in already!”
Chance blinked. Was that Jake? Couldn’t be; the kat’s usual line of frustration included no more than ‘crud’. It had gotten so Chance, usually a lover of swearing, had started restricting himself to ‘crud’, too, not to impress Jake but because he kind of liked how much fury Jake could pack into such an understated word.
He jogged to the open bay, but skidded to a halt when he saw what Jake was doing: trying to load the missile launchers by hand. That was unnecessary: the launchers were loaded by machines each day, checked and rechecked. What was he doing besides running the risk that the missiles wouldn’t fire when it was time? Then again, sometimes the missiles didn’t fire, machines be damned.
Jake at last got the missile in place and he leaned against the hulk’s side with a sigh. Then his gaze fell on Chance. “Hey.” He wiped sweat off his forehead. “How long have you been here?”
“Just a minute.” He swaggered in because, damn, even sweaty and obviously frustrated, Jake was the cause of all his erections for the last few weeks. “What’re you doing?”
“Making sure we actually have working missiles next time we’re in the air.” Jake tugged a rag out of his back pocket and wiped his paws. “I’m sick of Feral and all those other idiot jet jockeys telling me I’ve gotta quit blowing you and learn how to shoot.”
“What?” He wasn’t sure if he was furious or embarrassed. Had mostly-quiet, mild-speaking, karate-master Jake just said ‘blowing’, as in blowjob?
Jake closed the panel under the missiles and shoved his rag back into his pocket. “Yeah. I’m vertically-challenged, I check out toms’ asses, and I like Cher-Kit. I must be gay.”
Chance ran those words back through his stunned brain. “You check out toms’ asses?”
Jake laughed. “Yeah.” He crossed his arms and leaned against Chance’s broken-down baby. ” ‘Course, they don’t know that. If they did, I’d probably lose my place on the force. Not for being gay- of course not; that’s against the law-” he snorted- “but for something. Maybe for starting a bunch of ten-kats-to-one fights when the other gunners jump me during target practice.” He shook his head. “If Feral would just come out of the closet maybe I’d stand a chance of staying, but…” He laughed. “Look at your face. You think I’m serious. Sorry, buddy, but my gaydar sucks. I have no idea if he’s really gay, into dogs or just the masturbatory type.”
Wonder and admiration curled up the corners of Chance’s mouth. “Uh, buddy, I’ve got a question for you: where’d all this come from? I mean, yeah, I’ve thought of you as a friend almost from the first. You’ve just got this vibe about you, you know? But you’ve never been like this.”
Jake closed his eyes. “This is me without enough sleep.”
All the humor went out of the situation like color bleeding out of a picture. Chance sidled closer. “What’s wrong? Anything I can do?”
“Not unless you want to get kicked off the force with me.”
Chance had been halfway to a full erection when he’d first seen Jake, but it had reversed itself and left him feeling just a little lightheaded. He padded still closer until he, too, was leaning against the not-plane. “But you said no one knows you’re gay, at least not for sure.”
“That doesn’t stop them from screwing with me at night. Every chance they get, really. Have you ever seen Platoon Kat?”
He loved movies, though he’d never imagined Jake liked them. “Yeah! Oh. Shit.” Platoon Kats was a true story about this kat who wasn’t cut out to be in the army or something- he hadn’t seen the movie in years- and so got picked on, harassed and even beaten up by the other kats in his platoon. He was finally transferred- for his own safety- but if Chance remembered the end of the movie correctly, the kat had ended up committing suicide. “Shit, Jake, you’re not going to-”
“Hurt myself?” Jake shook his head. “No.” He opened his eyes and met Chance’s gaze. “But I’ll probably get kicked out sooner rather than later and I have three goals to meet before that happens. One, get these fucking missiles to fire so someone in this damn homophobic squadron knows I’m a good marksman. Two, make sure I have a job lined up for when I’m kicked out. Three, cause as many problems for the kats who’ve been tormenting me as I can.”
Chance’s chest had tightened. He tried to joke his way through it. “You could just dust all of them. You’re a martial arts master, aren’t you? I mean, I know they’ve got numbers on you, but, well, do you fight back when they attack you? Maybe if you did-”
“That’s against my principles.” Jake shook his head and his anger faded, leaving only sadness, which made Chance’s chest even tighter. “All the revenge I’m planning won’t actually happen, you know. That’s also against my principles.” He laughed; it was a shard-filled sound, like pieces of glass hidden inside a white cake. “I just hate having to prove myself over and over again without any results.”
He wanted to take Jake’s hand, but considering what Jake had just confessed, Chance thought any move like that could be seen as harassment. He needed to stay firmly on Jake’s good side. “But, you got into the Enforcers, right? I mean, that’s not exactly easy.”
Jake gave him a wan smile. “True, but I’ve been here for less than a year. I won’t consider it a success until I don’t run the risk of being fired every day based on my sexuality.” He pushed away from the hunk of junk. “We need to get out of here before they do six o’clock inspection.”
Chance nodded and they started for a side door he’d taken on many occasions.
Jake laughed as he followed. “And here I thought I was the only one to know about that door.”
Chance glanced back at him and offered a smile. “You’re not the only one who has something to prove.” He thought for a moment he’d confessed his sexuality, but then Jake laughed again.
“In your case, it’s because everyone’s jealous of you. You’re the best pilot here.” He caught up with Chance and even gripped his shoulder for a moment before they slipped through the door and into the almost-silence of the sleeping barracks. “At least I only have to live with the rest of the newbies for another two months. If I can get through that, they won’t be able to touch me- at least not as easily.”
They were headed for the east side barracks. They’d be within someone’s earshot within sixty seconds. Chance slowed down a little as his need to know got the better of him. “Uh, Jake?”
“Yeah?” Jake glanced at him… and burst out laughing. He bent double, paws on knees, and all but laughed his fur off.
“What?” He was blushing. Maybe even a little hurt. “I didn’t-”
Jake held up a hand and when he straightened, there were tears in his eyes. “No, Chance, I’m not going to come after you in the night with a raging hard-on.” He sobered in an instant and in the breath before he hid everything behind the usual happy-go-lucky face he’d worn all the time Chance had known him, Chance saw anguish and almost savage pain in his eyes.
He jumped forward and grabbed Jake’s shoulders before the slighter kat could turn away. He blurted, “I was going to ask if you’ve ever checked out my ass like I’ve checked out yours.”
Jake’s jaw dropped, but in the next instant he pulled away. “Fuck. You. Buddy. I’m not falling for that.”
“But it’s true. It’s-”
“Look, Furlong, I like you, and I know I’ve got this huge chip on my shoulder that makes it hard to take shit like that as a joke, but I thought you had more class than that. See you on patrol.” He sprinted for his barracks.
Chance waited until Jake was safely inside before he screamed. “CRUD!”
Chance slipped into his seat and ran a thorough check of all systems. The computer said that the missiles hadn’t been base-approved, but that was as it should be. Obviously, no one had found out that Jake had placed the missiles in by hand. If that had been discovered, neither of them would have been flying today.
He glanced at the clock on the dash. Almost time to taxi out to meet the rest of the squadron. Where was-?
“Sorry I’m late.” Jake hoisted himself in using both paws instead of his usual left-pawed habit. He was already wearing his helmet and goggles.
And still Chance saw the swelling the gear couldn’t quite hide.
Jake caught him looking and scowled. “Don’t ask. Let’s fly.”
He recognized that tone; he’d used it a lot growing up, and even once to Commander Feral. So he said nothing but started the hunk of junk’s engines and headed for the runway. They weren’t even the last ones there, which was good, and the commander wasn’t there yet. That was even better.
Ten minutes later, they were in the sky and patrolling their sector of a dozen blocks. Chance glanced once in the rearview, trying to see how exactly Jake had been hurt, but when the kat glared at him, he snapped his gaze back to the sky. And saw his first mutant plant. “What’s that?”
“Depends,” Jake answered, his voice awed. “Would you think I’m nuts if I said it was a giant walking punmpkin?”
“Reminds me of that movie I saw last week. Assault of-”
“-the Killer Kat-Minded Pumpkins!” Jake finished with him. “Yeah, it looks just like that, except I don’t think there’s a zipper in that thing’s skin.” He made an amused sound.
Chance snorted. “Yeah, well, whatever it is, let’s go investigate.”
He heard a series of beeps and Jake answered, “I’ve got missiles locked. Just in case.”
Chance headed down, cautious approach, as he’d been told, though his blood sang with the need to race into battle. “Let’s hope we don’t have to blow it up. That’s an awful lot of squash and I don’t even like vegetables. Just imagine if we had to help clean up that thing.”
“Aw, come on, Chance; veggies are a kat’s best friend.” Jake laughed again. “Let’s just see if this one can talk before we blow it sky high, okay?”
“Yeah. Just so we don’t get too close to its mouth.”
“I’ve got a breath mint all ready for it.”
Were they back to being friends? Chance put that question aside and pulled the hunk into a shuddering circle two dozen feet over the pumpkin. The thing definitely had a mouth, but it wasn’t the only thing down there. “Do you see-?”
“A kat that looks like his father was a snake? Yup. Crud!”
Chance yanked the not-plane up, barely avoiding a stream of thick goo that flew out of the pumpkin’s teeth-lined mouth. “What is that stuff?” He stared down at the pumpkin for a moment, then scanned for the snake-kat. “Hey, the green guy’s gone.”
“Yeah, and that’s not our only problem. Can you fly a little lower? I want to get that one before the others get here.”
Chance scanned his radar. “Crud, there’s like fifty of them! I’m calling for back-up!”
“Good. We don’t have half a hundred missiles.”
Chance made the call and got told to wait for back-up before going in. “Can’t,” he and Jake said together. It was so good to hear Jake backing him up again that Chance grinned as he flipped off the radio. “So, partner, which ones do we go after first?”
The pumpkin below them leapt into the air with the use of vein-like appendages. Again, it spit that gooey stuff.
“Missiles locked,” Jake said. “Deployed!”
Chance flew a little higher as the missile hit and the pumpkin exploded in a shower of orange guts and twitching vine pieces.
Jake crowed: “Bingo!”
“Let’s get the others,” Chance said, laughing his joy and battle-high.
“Wait.” Jake reached over the seat and gripped Chance’s shoulder. “I have an idea to get them all at once.”
Chance looked down at the pumpkin army. “You sure?”
“Yeah. Just take us up where those billboards are.” He snorted. “You know, the ones Manx ordered tied up instead of welded to ‘save money.’ ”
“Didn’t know you were so politically minded.” Chance saw them: there had to be a dozen large advertisements and twice that many half-size ones. He headed that way.
Jake was quiet for a moment. “There’s a lot you don’t know about me.”
Chance didn’t answer, and not only because he couldn’t think of anything to say. “What are you going to do? Blast them so they fall on the Killer Pumpkins?”
“Not exactly. The missiles we’re carrying would vaporize every billboard.”
Chance heard the click of Jake’s harness.
He couldn’t turn around, but he put all the fury possible into his voice. “What are you doing?”
“I’m going to set them on fire before dropping them. The way those things are marching close together, we’ll have fifty roasted pumpkins even if I manage to set just a few on fire.”
Chance groaned. Jake’s plan was a good one, but- “How are you going to cut all the billboards loose? Or set them on fire in the first place?”
“If you open the canopy, I’m just going to hang over the side and light them, then use my knife to cut them loose.”
Jake couldn’t be talking about a simple pocketknife; any blade that thin would snap. Still, he was comforted by the thought that Jake wouldn’t actually be getting out of the jet. “What knife?”
Jake held the monstrosity up so Chance could see the thick, twelve-inch blade.
“That’s not a knife, buddy. That’s a tiny sword!” It was also against regulations, but who cared? They were close enough to the billboards now. “Ready?”
“Let’s do it.”
Chance opened the canopy. “Be careful, partner.”
Jake hoisted himself up on the edge of the cockpit. He was still using both hands. “No problem-o. I’ll just-”
As one, the pumpkin-things rocketed up from the street. Three crashed right into the not-plane’s underside hard enough to make Chance’s teeth close on his tongue and the others soared around it. A few were charbroiled in the engine exhaust, but one of them connected with Jake and he fell.
“Jake!” But there were too many pumpkin-things all over him, making it impossible to see, and worse: invading his cockpit. He flipped upside down and the ones in Jake’s seat-
-fell out. Chance rolled again, trying to burn the ones who were clinging to the billboards, but they leapt out of the way, onto the roof… where Jake was struggling to his feet. He had lost his helmet and his gloves; Chance saw the bandages and the swollen, furless skin around Jake’s right eye. He headed down. “If anything happens to him, I’ll…”
“Back off, hotshot. I’ll handle this.”
Chance grimaced at Commander Feral’s voice crackling through his radio. He glanced to the left and saw the chopper coming. “Can’t, Commander. Jake’s down there.”
“You were supposed to wait. I’ll get him if I can, but these creatures are my first-”
“Jake!” Chance had swung around the building to keep the pumpkin things from jumping onto his wings. Now he headed back. “You okay?”
“Mostly. These things’re- Crud! It ate my grappling hook!” The ones they kept on their belts in case of emergency. Jake must have used his knife already. “Chance, I need you here. Now.”
Nothing could keep him away. He headed in.
“Retreat!” their commander ordered. “You’re outgunned, Clawson. And you’re right in my line of fire.” A pause, and then: “Stay out of the way, Furlong! I’ve got missiles locked.”
Chance muttered, too quiet for his commander to hear, “You’re not hurting Jake.” He spotted his partner on the roof, his back to a little shed. He was surrounded and though he’d started kicking the shit out of the pumpkin-things, there were far too many. Chance dove. If he did this right, he’d be able to roast the veggies without hurting Jake. “Jake?”
“When I say so, go flat, okay?” That would put Jake in even more danger- unless Chance was able to execute his move exactly. But having Jake stand when the not-plane rushed by would be a disaster. He wished Jake still had his helmet.
In that moment, he loved Jake so much for his unquestioning trust that Chance laughed. It was either that or be rocked to his core by the other kat’s trust.
He headed in.
“Sir,” Chance all but snarled. “Stop cluttering up my channel, sir. Jake needs to hear me.”
For a wonder, Commander Feral shut up.
He was only a few feet above the roof. The pumpkin-things- some of them, anyway- had turned towards him, but most were concentrating on the kat they’d cornered. He gunned the engine and plunged in among them. “Jake! Drop!”
Jake flattened himself and covered his head with his bare paws.
Chance said a quick prayer for Jake’s unprotected paws and then burned his way through the pumpkin patch.
They went up like exploding road kill, showering the hunk of junk and surely Jake, too. But when the parts stopped falling, Chance saw that he’d gotten all of them. And, miracle of miracles, Jake was pushing himself to his feet and looked no more hurt than he’d been before Chance’s crazy move.
Commander Feral was coming in; he’d be landing on the roof in a minute. Chance beat him to it, yanking his hunk of junk to a stop. He was out of his harness and jumping to the veggie-littered rooftop an instant after he shut off his engines. He caught Jake by the shoulders and held back from embracing him only because of what had passed between them that morning. Up close, he could see that Jake’s fur had been shaved away around his eye, and not by a gentle hand. Little cuts surrounded his eye, one so close Jake could have lost his eye if it had been a breath closer. But before Chance could decide if he should say anything, Jake gripped his arms.
He was grinning. “That was amazing! No one can fly like Chance Furlong!”
Commander Feral strode towards them. “And no one can make a mess like you young hotshots.”
Chance helped Jake to his feet. They’d been scrubbing bathroom tile for hours and though Jake hadn’t complained once, he’d been favoring his left paw and the swelling around his eye had risen to the size of a small volcano crater. It had been an almost-silent punishment detail with Chance not sure what to say that wouldn’t lead to him being kill-crazy at whoever had hurt Jake and Jake not saying a word.
But now, as Chance helped him up, Jake said, “Thanks. I think we’re done.” He swayed on his feet.
Chance steadied him with a paw on each shoulder. “Buddy, you okay?” Fuck not talking about it; he wanted to fuck them up, whoever they were, until they didn’t dare come within ten feet of Jake.
“Yeah, I-” Jake’s eyes rolled back in his head and Chance jumped to catch him.
He laid Jake on the sparkling floor by the sinks, turned on the cold tap, and cupped water in one paw. This he brought to Jake’s mouth as he lifted the kat’s head, but Jake didn’t stir so Chance trickled it over his face instead.
Jake’s eyes didn’t open, but his tongue flicked out to catch a little water. So Chance scooped up another palm-full and brought it to Jake’s lips. “Here, sure-shot. Drink.”
Jake did and his eyelids drifted up. “Sure-shot?” He grinned weakly. “My plan didn’t exactly work.”
“It would’ve if those things hadn’t started playing leapfrog. You okay now? For real?”
Jake’s grin widened. “Yeah, this time I think I’m really okay.” But he didn’t move. “Chance?”
“I’m sorry about this morning.” Jake closed his eyes, but he showed no signs of slipping away again. “I guess I really do have a chip on my shoulder.” A pause; he peeked up at Chance again before closing his eyes once more. “And, yeah, I’ve checked out your ass. I’m kinda in shock that you’re gay, but my gaydar’s never worked.”
Chance’s heart did a little leap and he was extremely glad he hadn’t laid Jake on his lap as his cock leapt at the possibilities. “Does that mean Feral could be gay?”
Jake laughed and again opened his eyes. “He could be into dogs or sheep for all I know.” He sat up. “Guess we’re done, huh?”
The bathroom door opened; another pilot and gunner walked in. “Taking a break, boys?”
“Uh, don’t you mean girls?” the gunner asked.
Chance was about to say something, but the way Jake suddenly moved… Was that a flinch? He looked from the self-satisfied pilot and gunner to Jake. He saw the pilot’s bruised knuckles and his blood ignited.
He was on his feet and halfway to the door between one breath and the next, but Jake got there first. Back to the intruders, he put both paws against Chance’s chest. “Don’t bother. They’re not worth it.”
He would have nudged Jake aside and gone for their throats, but Commander Feral appeared in the doorway. “Inspection.” He glanced at the pilot and gunner; they split. “You two look hum-” His jaw tightened. “What happened, Clawson?” He pointed at Jake’s eye.
“Nothing.” Jake turned to face their commander and hid his paws behind his back. “Just a little allergic reaction to the cleaning supplies, I guess.”
“Don’t hand me that.” Feral was glaring at Chance. “Do we need to talk alone, Enforcer?” he asked Jake. “Maybe there’s something you need to tell me?” The look he was giving Chance was disgusted.
“Hey!” Chance’s claws came out. “I didn’t do anything to him!”
Feral ignored him. “Well?”
Jake shook his head. “I’m fine, Commander. It was just-”
Feral’s scowl was fiercer than anything he’d ever turned on two of his youngest recruits, even when he’d ordered them to scour this bathroom. “You’re not doing yourself any favors by protecting the kats who attacked you, Clawson. The same speech I give to my female enforcers I give to anyone being abused: stand up for yourself.”
Jake’s eyes flashed. He took half a step before seeming to remember where he was and who he was talking to. “You have no idea, sir, how I’m standing up for myself.”
Feral crossed his arms and in that moment, Chance liked him for the first time, despite, or even because of the harsh words he spoke next. “I can see it’s not working.”
“Jake,” Chance said quietly. His partner hadn’t been kidding about that chip on his shoulder; it was going to knock him over soon.
Jake turned on him, his eyes narrowed.
Chance didn’t back down and didn’t raise his voice. He’d never thought of himself as a therapist- and would have been embarrassed if anyone had suggested that’s what he was doing- but Jake didn’t need harsh words. “They’re going to keep doing it unless you stop them.”
“And if I turn them in, they’ll…” Jake blinked. “Crud,” he whispered. He met Chance’s gaze, really met it, and Chance thought he could read the thought there: part of Jake was scared of the ass-wipes; the rest of him was ashamed of that fact.
Before he could think of anything to say, Jake turned back to Commander Feral and gave the names of the five- Five! Chance thought. I’m gonna kill them!- kats who had attacked him that morning as he snuck back into the barracks.