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Fan Fiction - Coming of Age, Pt. 6/? [Post 2 of 2]

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Feb. 5th, 2007 | 04:34 pm

Title: Coming of Age
Author: cooking_spray
Fandom: CATS
Pairing: Tugger/Jemima
Genre: Drama/Romance/General
Rating: PG-13
Word Count: 12,388
Status: Ongoing
Summary: The kittens are growing up quickly, bringing about some changes in the Junkyard. This applies to Tugger's fan club as well. As he begins to lose the attentions of the Princesses, some facts must be faced. A certain soon-to-be Queen seems willing to aid the difficult process along, however. . .This chapter: Victoria makes a proposal whilst Demeter makes a confession, Jemima and the White Queen renew their friendship, the Tugger has an altercation, and Bombalurina searches but turns up what she isn't looking for.

Note: Okay, this has to be segmented into two halves, just because it's too large for LJ, apparently. . . This is actually kind of hilarious. The link to the second post can be found at the end of the entry. 21 pages is a bit excessive as far as fan fiction chapters go, I guess. *hides* Anyway, enjoy!



Chapter Six:
One More Time, With Feeling



~*~*~*~*~



The last time Demeter had been this happy, she had barely been out of kittenhood - and that happiness had been so hollow and short-lived, in comparison. This happiness, she was confident, would be one that would last for much longer than a moon. Munkustrap was a Tom of his word, and he had honored her with his protection and untiring concern even without recompense for so long already. Her old, reflexive fear of abandonment still lingered, but it was hard to take it seriously when she had spent nearly the entire day in the silver tabby's arms, both of them clutching each other with the blissful relief that their mutual feelings for one another no longer had to be denied. It was the kind of sap that she had once looked on with distaste, back in the days when she was young enough to have fanciful ideas of romance. But, in the end, you don't really get to choose your so-called "happy ending" - oftentimes, it finds you instead, whether it's what you think you need or not.

This was why the black-gold Queen was swooning and grinning from ear-to-ear instead of crinkling her nose, as her former self would've. The initial euphoria of finding the cat you most want to share your life with, and discovering they feel the same way, is all-encompassing, replacing all worries with a nirvana that, although seemingly unending, is really only temporary. Demeter didn't care, though - she was in love, and loved in return, and little else mattered at the moment. Later, she could reflect back on her careless, emotion-blinded silliness, but for now she was going to enjoy the honeymoon phase while it lasted. She had waited around so long to finally confess, afraid of rejection - but now that she finally had, and was aware of the most pleasant consequences, she had to admonish herself for her dawdling. If this is how it would've been all along, had she only said something sooner. . .

The only reason why Demeter was not in the Guardian's company at that very moment, standing beside him for the whole tribe to see, was because he had watch duty. Neither of them had wanted him to leave, but once again, Munkustrap was a Tom of his word - although wasting the night away just as they had the morning, nestled into the armoire together, was definitely preferable to spending it out in the cold, he would not desert his sense of duty. And Deme would only distract him from keeping his post had she accompanied him, so there she was, alone again. Even without his presence, though, she felt better than she had in weeks - and Munkus had left her with a goodbye that would more than make up for his absence.

It hadn't occurred to her before now, her mind having been explicably centered on other things, but she was hungry. With a spring in her step, the black-gold Queen set off to raid the dustbins. If her nosing didn't turn up any morsel of decent edibility, which was very likely at this hour, she'd have to settle for a mouse - however, nourishment was the least of her concerns at the moment. Her menu may not have been exactly gourmet, but who cared? She was in love!

On her way toward the break in the fence that allowed Jellicles to slip out of and into the alleyway, though, Demeter caught wind of a curious sound. She pricked her ears, and found that as she drew closer to her destination, the sound intensified. This was also curious - the black-gold Queen was removed from the Yard's apex, and it was unusual for a Jellicle to lurk around the outskirts by choice (unless they were the Dark Twins, and then there were no questions). The "sound" had the melodic quality of a voice, though, and a male one, at that. Its familiarity irritated her.

Intrigued, and food forgotten for the moment, Demeter stealthily followed the direction of the singing. While scaling a junk heap, it grew in volume. . . and then, at almost the same time as she recognized the voice, she came upon the cat commanding it. In any other event, upon unearthing that last fact, she would've continued her meal foraging with immediate disinterest, but something about this clandestine performance was eerily enchanting.

Sitting on a fossil of a washing machine was the Rum Tum Tugger, deeply concentrated on serenading the waxing gibbous moon. It was much rounder than any of the Queens the Maine Coon usually tried to charm, Demeter noted, but then again, it was also less protesting to his advances. They were a perfect pair.

All joking aside, though, it had to be admitted that the Tugger, when he put his mind to it, had quite the set of pipes. His obnoxious over-enunciations, as well as the usual pomp, were not made use of in this ballad - it was sung straightly and honestly, with little apparent effort. It was a little enervating to one's self-esteem, really. The Curious Cat could've had a voice like a rusty hinge and still live a comfortable life, after all.

More off-putting than the singing of the ballad was the selection itself. Since when did the Tugger do love songs? This wasn't a melody that she had ever heard, so she assumed he had picked it up somewhere, or (though it was unfathomable) the piece was of his own creation. The lyrics were strange and hardly sensible, so it was also hard to believe that he really understood just what it was he was saying. This couldn't be practice for the duets, either, as he was clearly unaccompanied.

Demeter's stomach rumbled, but she staid put, frowning more with the recitation of each line. Somehow, she got the feeling that a certain Princess had a surprise in store for her. . .

In her distaste, the black-gold Queen's foot accidentally nudged a tire rim. Wincing, she anticipated the clatter that her gesture had caused as the strategically stacked portion of the pile avalanched. The Tugger's singing ceased, and she knew she had been caught, even though she hadn't intended to spy in the first place. The damned Curious Pollicle probably caused trouble in his sleep, she suspected - and leave it to him to put a damper on her happiness. Ironically, it was her own curiosity that had gotten her in this situation.

She could see his smirk, even if she couldn't see his face. "Okay, hide and seek's over. . . come out, come out wherever you are. . ."

Glaring deeply, Demeter stalked out from her "hiding place", refusing to play along with the Tugger's game. His eyebrows actually rose a bit, indicating mild surprise - he had probably expected one of the Princesses, or even the Scarlet Queen. Instead, his eavesdropper had turned out to be the least likely of all, whose disapproval of him was not unknown.

"Before you go forming ideas, let it be known that I was just on my way to find food - something I do not assume you would be able to relate to." Demeter was quick to present a defense, and did not bother to conceal the acid in her tone. The Tugger still represented the worst sort of advantageous Tom to her, and she hadn't yet seen substantial proof to sway her otherwise. The latest rumors of his interest in Jemima only furthered this dislike. To think that he would dare to stoop as low as leading on a kitten. . . Obviously, he upheld no morals. Once again, in another time, they might've gotten along quite well - but this was now, and after what had been revealed to her, she couldn't bear to condone his behavior.

Tugger held up his paws as a signal of submission, somewhat taken aback by her harshness. Really, did he not get it by now? Or did he just not care one way or the other? "Hey, take it easy. . . I'm not the criminal here."

Demeter's nostrils flared, along with her annoyance threshold. "Nor am I, as I told you. Don't imply otherwise."

In the face of her temper, the Maine Coon was becoming confused. "Look, Deme, I don't want to fight. . . But, y'know, I'm not that stupid. You were hiding behind that junk pile the whole time." He pointed, but her eyes did not follow, content to pin him with their seething. "I caught the scent you as soon as you approached, but I didn't call out or anything, because I figured you were enjoying the concert."

"Unlike most females around here, I'm not exactly enraptured by the Tugger package. Don't flatter yourself." The back-gold Queen's rebuttal was just as vehement as the previous two, and she was undeterred by Tugger's previous statement.

Tugger started to look the slightest bit offended. "Well, even so, there had to be some reason why you were sitting there through all those verses. And don't tell me that rot about being 'on your way' to get food, either."

Demeter fell silent, although the unfriendliness did not leave her expression. The truth was, she was not at all prepared to give the Tugger the satisfaction of the actual reason for her spying. To tell him that she had followed his voice like a siren call would only please him further..

"I have an Intended," she said with a staunch glower, as if this defense excused her actions and his questioning of them.

This was actually news to the Tugger. Being the Curious Cat, his interest was spiked in spite of himself. "You don't say? I guess Munkus finally got around to proposing, then. . . sure took long enough."

Deme's tail twitched, and her ears flattened. "I was the one who proposed, thank you. Contrary to what you might think, Queens can do some things for themselves."

"Well, however it happened, congrats. . . I'm real happy for the both of you," Tugger replied sarcastically, growing tiresome of the black-gold Queen's consistent scathing. "Still doesn't answer my question, though."

"I am under no obligation to give any reply to your questions. You are not my Mate or my brother, and I therefore owe you no loyalty." She was regretting ever having let anything distract her from her hunger. "As such, I do not need your excuse to proceed in removing myself from your company. Goodbye."

With that terse exit line, Demeter made to turn away, but in an eye blink, the Tugger was in front of her, blocking her path. She hissed and advanced forward, but he remained just as stubborn, and did not budge.

"I don't know what I ever did to you to make you hate me so much, Deme, but my guess is, seeing that I've never actually done anything to you, that you just don't like the kind of cat I am. That's fine, okay? But, let me tell you one thing - we are both in this tribe together. So, whatever way you feel about me, go on feeling it - just don't forget that you do owe me at least that much respect." The Tugger's quiet anger was actually a bit frightening, but Demeter could still not get over her disgust with his antics. She knew his type well. . . Toms like him were the reason why so many Queens lost their self-worth and became brokenhearted. And still, he had the nerve to lecture her!

Demeter sniffed, and turned her head. "I do not understand why Munkustrap tolerates you. It is obvious that you have no regard for anyone but yourself. . . Where were you last Ball when Macavity showed up? Where were you when anyone really needed you? You're an avoider," she spat. "A self-serving, arrogant avoider. . . you are one of the ones who would've left me in the Asylum to rot. This tribe doesn't need someone like you."

"Thanks for the opinion, but I don't think you're the one who gets to make that decision," her "captor" replied snidely. "And you know, maybe you're right, and I am as bad as you say. I'd love to make peace anyway, but you've made it pretty clear that's not going to happen anytime soon, unless I get a complete personality correction. But, what I don't understand is why someone who claims to hate me so much decides to sit and listen to me sing for such a long time. Give me a reason, any reason, just as long as it's better than the last one. Then, you can go, and I'll never force you to talk to me again. Sound good?"

The black-gold Queen did not speak, either out of defiance for the request or reluctance to admit that the Tugger had a point. His demeanor didn't waver, though, and she finally gave in and muttered a reply. "It surprised me to hear you using your vocal chords for something of a more poignant nature, is all. Call it shock, if you will. You can't blame me."

Tugger mimicked her silence for a few moments, and then his posture relaxed, a fresh smirk taking up residence on his face. "I should be insulted. . . but, enemy or not, I gotta love your honesty. There aren't too many Queens who aren't afraid to use it, y'know."

Deme started to attack the gender generalization, and then decided to leave it be. "I should want to believe just the opposite. It seems to me that if you heard the truth about yourself too often, you'd learn to loathe honesty." Her gaze was still hard, but it now contained more skepticism than outright unforgiving.

"Let me tell you a secret, Deme - having confidence doesn't always mean you have anything to back it up with. You just trust that whatever it is that comes at you, you're be invincible, even if you're not. You should try it sometime, and give Munkus a day off."

She arched a fringed brow. "Strange, I always referred to that as egotism."

The Maine Coon's smirk broadened. "Call it whatever you like. It's still the same."

Demeter felt her ire dissipating into grudging tolerance. The Tugger may've been what she defined as an "incorrigible bastard", but he was still sharply attuned to his surroundings. Maybe it was a talent acquired from years of selective Queen-chasing, but still, if you had to be good at something. . . well, then he was an expert.

"Answer one question of mine, then. Who were you singing for? And don't give me non-committal answers, because you wouldn't accept mine. Surely the Tugger doesn't sing such a song without someone in mind, especially where he thinks no one will hear him."

Tugger turned his paws upwards, still grinning. "Guilty. I'm sure you won't like the response to this one, though."

Demeter sighed. "That's what I suspected." She gave him another penetrating stare. "I hope you know what it is you're doing. I know better than to believe that, though."

Somewhat shockingly, the Tugger toned down his cockiness, and looked thoughtful (or at least put on a convincing show of possessing something that vaguely resembled thought). "You're probably right when you say I have no idea - I suck at this chivalrous stuff, you know. But, another secret for you, Deme - I'm doing this because I want to. No other reason." He grinned again. "Isn't that a riot?"

"If it's not already, it will be." Never mind that she knew he meant that last phrase colloquially. The Rum Tum Tugger did have some humility, when the situation demanded of it. . . who knew? "They are justified in calling you 'the Curious Cat'."

Tugger's expression didn't fade. "They don't give titles around here for nothing."

Demeter took a moment to consider their conversation. To be fair, the Tugger had defended himself well, and even managed to call her bluff. The entire scrimmage of words was forcedly unintentional, but not a total travesty, if she made herself look at it objectively. She guessed she could revoke her earlier statement about not understanding Munkustrap's judgment. And as for Jemima. . . well, that was another subject. The thought of her and the Tugger still made her fur curl, but she supposed that the matter was not of her concern.

"Don't get the wrong impression," she reminded, austerity making a comeback. "As far as I'm concerned, we are still far from familiar terms."

Her target reacted with nothing but the same entertained surveillance, watching to see how she would follow up - but in the opinion of the black-gold Queen, the exchange was finished. The boundless joy that had overcome her before was mostly spent, but the Tom who had inspired it would remain with her, and that was consolation enough. Without speaking, she nodded once to the Tugger to announce her departure, and then turned away. It may've been abrupt, but they both knew that there was nothing left to say.

"Have a nice midnight snack!" he called cheerily after her, restored to his normal state of being so quickly that Demeter could almost imagine that they had never talked at all.

She only got three steps away before the singing started once more. And this time, if she was anyone to say, there was even more feeling behind it.


~*~*~*~*~


Over the past twenty-four hours, Bombalurina had been many things - worried, confused, suspicious, irritated, and more that she didn't feel like naming. Out of the spectrum of emotions she had run through, though, the one that was the foremost on the list was "worried". What part of the current dilemma concerned her more, she couldn't say, but she hadn't wandered all over the Yard searching for nothing. Where were Cori and Tantie when you needed them?

Last night, the Scarlet Queen had been amicably chatting with the Matrons one moment, wryly complimenting the progress they had made in the kittens’ upbringing - and then, she had noticed that Demeter had deserted her without any warning, or even a friendly goodbye. What was more dodgy about the escape was that the Guardian had vanished from sight, as well. . . It was hard not to draw conclusions, but Bomba wasn’t her friend’s keeper, so she decided to allow Deme her secrecy, no questions asked. It wasn’t like she hadn’t done the very same for her before (although, for certain reasons, this was just a bit different, ).

She had even remained in buoyant spirits when she returned to their den alone, finally falling asleep (Cat knew how) with the conviction that the black-gold Queen would appear beside her sometime during the morning, just like always. However, the sun had set and night had come again, and still, the space beside her was empty. . . And Bomba, despite her resolutions to look the other way, was beginning to develop an idea of what was afoot.

So, since the Scarlet Queen was not one to stand around and wait for the facts to come to her, she had set out in search for them herself. Her minx of a companion was still nowhere to be seen, and if truth be told, there was not much of anyone to be seen. Unless, of course, you counted Munkustrap - and as soon as Bomba caught sight of him regally keeping his post on the highest junk pile, she knew he was just the cat she wanted to see.

Well, maybe lately, that was always the case - but that wasn’t the point at the moment. The point was, she was minus a best friend, and the only one who might’ve had any idea as to her whereabouts had to be the silver tabby.

Smoothing down her ruff and giving her head fur a tease, she casually and expertly scaled the mound. When she reached the top, she grinned victoriously at the Tom who awaited her there, and watched with amusement as the tautness in his stance faded, almost giving the impression of deflation. Always on the edge. . .

“Good evening, Munkus,” she greeted coquettishly, circling to the silver tabby’s other side and seating herself with a plop. “It’s a nice night we’re having, don’t you agree? I trust no mangy Pollicles are about, or you’d have bellowed long before now.”

“Same to you, Bombalurina. . .” For some reason, he seemed discomfited by her presence. “Was there something you wanted to ask me?”

Bomba frowned. “Someone’s sure not in a chatty mood. And for the last time, it’s Bomba!” She struck a sulky pose, perching her paws in her lap and raising her shoulders.

“Sorry, Bomba.” He tried to offer a conciliatory smile, but his nervousness poisoned it. Why was he acting so strange?

The Scarlet Queen pouted at him for a few moments longer, and then ‘hmph’ed and stuck her nose in the air. “Well, since you’ve made it clear that you don’t want my conversation. . . I was just going to ask you about Deme. She’s gone off and left me, and I thought you might know why.”

At this, Munkustrap’s discomfort came to a crescendo. Bomba did not turn her head back to him, but of the corner of her eye, she could see the guilt in his face. Before he even said a word, she knew exactly what was going on. Not that she hadn’t suspected it all along. . . But she guessed she’d just had some silly hope that her instincts would be proven wrong. She shouldn’t have been so. . . devastated. Demeter had finally found someone to love, who would love and care for her in return the way she needed to be. Mind, she could’ve at least told little ol’ Bomby about it, instead of leaving her out in the cold. . . But she was Deme’s best friend. It was her job to be supportive, to be happy for her friend’s happiness, because that was just what good friends did. Wasn‘t it?

The silver tabby was just another Tom out of many. So he’d found himself a Mate. . . She still had plenty of other options to consider. For the love of Heaviside, she was the Scarlet Queen! Besides, he and Demeter suited each other, and always had. She didn’t know where she’d gotten the idea to chase after him herself. She never really meant to steal him away - that simply wouldn’t have been fair, and Munkus was too straight-edged to run with her, anyway (although maybe that’s precisely what she’d admired about him in the first place). Really, she didn’t know what it was she had meant to do. Things were always going to have ended up like this, eventually, it was just a matter of time. And suddenly, that time had come, and in spite of Bomba’s anticipation of it, it seemed much too soon. Absurd, but true. How was this affecting her so deeply?

She forced herself to smile, cutting him off before he got the chance to summon the words. “Never mind, you don’t have to say anything.” She waved a paw, dismissing herself. “Silly me! I should’ve known. . .”

The Guardian’s guilt changed into concern, and Bomba felt her false expression straining. Munkus, don’t you dare. . . “No, I apologize. I should’ve told you that she was with me sooner. It was careless to have caused you to worry so needlessly.”

He continued to implore her with that unbearable gaze, and she cursed his caring, biting down hard on the inside of her lip to avoid losing it completely. Even when she most wanted to, she couldn’t hate him - his concern was so honest, and she knew that he actually meant every word that he said. He was handling this so perfectly, and she was the one who was messing things up. But really, isn’t that what she thrived on?

“Bomba. . .?”

She was on her feet again before she had stopped to consider it. She was going to make him worry, and she did not deserve to be worried about. . . but right then, she had to go. “Well, now I know! It’s alright. . . the best of my luck to the both of you, for what little it’s worth. I’m sure you’ll be happy together.”

Taking a step back, she waved. “And now, I gotta go. . . night’s young, you know!”

Munkustrap somehow did not feel at all warmed by the Scarlet Queen’s tidings. “Thank you, but - Wait!”

By the time he had spoken, however, she was halfway down the pile already, pretending she hadn’t heard him, and he didn’t have the heart to follow after.


~*~*~*~*~


“Cor, Teazer! You’ve robbed ‘em blind!”

The tiger calico Queen entreated her partner (and Mate) in crime to her trademark mischievous giggle, delighted by look of astonishment on his face. The Notorious Duo was crouched behind a stack of overturned crates, freshly returned from another late-night burglary. Between them were two upturned swags, loot of every imaginable variety spilling out. . . Well, imaginable for a cat, that was. Their petty thievery had rewarded them with a very impressive assortment of costume jewelry, which much outnumbered any of the other findings - the pocketful of Human coins, the emery board, and the statuette of a nameless fierce-looking war hero all-inclusive.

“The Human male forgot to shove the box in front of the cat door, like usual, so I waltzed right in and took what I liked!”

That’s obvious. . .” Mungojerrie held up a string of the gaudiest beads he’d ever seen. They were undeniably ugly, but shiny, which he supposed was the appeal. “And where do you suppose you’re going to wear these, eh?”

He jangled them at her, and she snatched the whole string away, possessive. “Silly! They’re not for wearing, they’re for looking!”

“Well, you can look all you want, then, ‘cos I sure don’t wanna.” The tiger calico Tom pushed the pile away in disbelief, shaking his head as Teazer gleefully sorted her way through it, making all sorts of exclamations. ‘Ooo, Jerrie, this one’s real sparkly, bet it’s stainless steel!’ and ‘Ooo Jerrie, take a look at these, they’ve got miniature fishies dangling from ‘em!’

He was having a perfectly amusing time just listening to her until a flash of red fur streaked by, and sat heavily on one of the nearby crates.

Rumpleteazer dropped her current item of interest (a depressingly two-halved friendship pendant) and shut her mouth, wide eyes peering through the maze of wooden slats at their intruder. In silent unison, she and Jerrie looked at one another, and then crept toward them, slinking through narrow tunnels of the mound with practiced surreptitiousness.

When they were decidedly close enough, they both hunkered down and began their investigation. Trembling shoulders and slender ankles only meant one thing - they were dealing with a Queen in distress. She had curvy hips. . . a predominantly red coat. . . all dead giveaways for Bombalurina! Jerrie took a step forward, and inhaled to be sure (which he could've done all along, but where's the thrill in that?) - yup, definitely the Scarlet Queen.

The pair lapsed into still silence. No more than a few moments had gone by when they began to hear sniffles.

"Well, color my eyes red and call me the Rumpus Cat. . ." The tiger calico Tom blinked in disbelief. "That's sure something you don't see every day."

His Mate nudged him in the ribs, hard, and scowled. "Every lady's got her troubles," she whispered matter-of factly, holding her head high. "Where's your sense of compassion, anyhow?"

"I'm with you, luv," he reminded, quirking his features. "If I do something wrong, you just hit me, and then we go steal something and forget whatever it was happened in the first place."

"Well, if other Toms are anything like you, no wonder she's crying." Ruffled, Rumpleteazer stepped out from behind the box. "I'm gonna see what's the matter, instead of sitting here and watching like the circus is in town. This is girl business."

"Aw, hey now, Teazer. . ." She flounced away without speaking another word, though, and was soon out of sight.

"Hotels." Glumly, Jerrie watched his Mate approach the Scarlet Queen through the slats, feeling even more rotten than before.

The tiger calico Queen crept up very tentatively, squeezing between the last two crates in the formation. Bomba hadn't noticed her yet, which indicated that she was pretty absorbed in whatever it was she was grieving over.

"Hey there, Bomby. . ." Teazer's voice was more muted and gentle than Jerrie had ever supposed it could get.

As soon as the words were spoken, Bombalurina sat up ramrod straight, and furiously set to wiping all evidence of tears from her eyes. Once she regained the bearings that Teazer had shocked away from her, however, she seemed to realize the act's futility, and settled upon a weak smile.

“You caught me,” she replied with a tinge of sarcasm - at least her sense of humor hadn’t given her the boot, too.

“Red-handed, I’ll say.” She smiled anxiously, and was very relieved that the Scarlet Queen was not so upset that she couldn’t spare a laugh.

“You can tell Jerrie that he doesn’t have to hide from us,” Bomba said, with a leftover sniffle and the best smirk she could muster. “Crying isn’t catching.”

Tail between his legs, Mungojerrie obeyed the summons, standing awkwardly between the two Queens. Teazer glared at him, and turned her attention to Bomba again.

“Sorry for being nosy, but. . . This isn’t about the Tugger and Jemi, is it?”

The Scarlet Queen laughed a second time, but this time it only sounded bitter. “Tugger? Cat, no. . . The last time he made me cry, we were both barely a year old, and it was because I got the best of him in an argument, like I always do, and he stomped on my tail. He hasn’t gotten much more mature than that since. He and Jemima can go start a whole happy family together, for all I care - except all the children would be dashing and smart, and we’d all be doomed.”

“And don’t forget the looks, too,” Jerrie chimed, now imagining a dozen little Tuggers and Jemimas running around. The thought made him shudder slightly. The Jemimas wouldn’t be so bad, on their own, but any spawn of the Curious Cat’s that had a deceptive innocence and saucer-eyes was trouble.

“Anyone we know, then?” Teazer persisted. “But, if you don’t want to talk about it, that’s fine, too. . .”

“Actually, I’m glad for the distraction. . . it’s embarrassing that I fell apart like that. I’m not thinking correctly.” She sighed in a very c’est la vie fashion. “The Scarlet Queen at her lowest. . . you should savor the moment.”

Bomba stretched, and looked semi-composed when all of her feline joints snapped back into place. “As for your question. . . yeah, you know him.”

Mungojerrie’s face then developed a certain pucker, and his brow scrunched itself into a possibly painful configuration. Bomba’s own brow elevated itself in response, and Teazer, unprompted, offered explanation. “He’s thinking.”

Both Queens watched with fascination as this routine wore on for several seconds - Bombalurina was simply entertained, and Rumpleteazer was waiting for the moment of epiphany. Her Mate’s eyebrows always shot up a certain way right before he shouted out the answer. . . just like they were behaving now.

“It’s. . . it’s Munkustrap!” the tiger calico Tom announced at long last.

At about the same time Teazer proclaimed him an idiot and gave him a remorseless swat on the backside, Bomba made the assertion, “Wow, you’re good.”

The Notorious Duo froze, momentarily struck speechless - well, Jerrie was still massaging his injured rear, but that was overlookable. Slowly, they turned to each other, to see if they were both as flabbergasted as the other, and then directed mutual looks of complete incredulity at Bomba.

“Y’mean. . . I was right? It was just a lucky guess!” Mungojerrie sputtered.

“You’re not fooling, are you, Bomby?” Rumpleteazer seemed unwilling to comprehend the information she had just been given.

“Wish I was, but no. There’s no fooling here.” Bomba tried to act nonchalant, but there was an unmistakable tinge of sadness in her voice.

Jerrie scratched behind his ear, still very much astounded. “And here I was thinking that Tugger was the only one who made the Queens cry. . .”

“It’s not exactly like that. . .”

The Scarlet Queen did not elaborate, despite the many assumptions she knew were probably taking root in the couple’s overly fertile imaginations - you didn‘t water the hotbed of potential scandal. Those who gossip know just how gossip is spread, and there was enough about her as it was. Kittens weren’t the only ones making love confessions these days, it seemed. What a trend Jemima had started. . .

Furthermore, it was useless to keep talking, because it would only ruin her mood further - and Bomba liked to remain upbeat if she could help it. And if she was looking for a good way to lift her spirits, she was certainly with the right crowd. Believe it or not, way back when, she could’ve been the Rumple to Jerrie’s Teazer, proverbially speaking, before said Queen had even come to live with the Jellicles. It wasn’t a time in her life that she looked back on with particular fondness, but it had existed, nonetheless. And, as she was finding, it was hard to forget something you’d already learned.

Liking the idea of a distraction more and more, she hoisted herself off the crate, and struck a pose. “Anyway, forget about that. . . who’s up for another game of smash-and-grab?”

Mungojerrie developed a sly grin. It was not hard to redirect his attention - and what Jerrie did, Teazer usually did too. “Why, Bomby, I didn’t think you even remembered how. . .”

“Neither did I, but last one to the fence loses.”

With that, she sprinted off, Mungojerrie and Rumpleteazer not far behind. This was impulsive, and dangerous, and assuredly the most juvenile thing she had done in ages, but before the sun peaked over the horizon, she was determined to have her own fun, and she didn’t care who saw her.

It’s not like that. . .

If she ran fast enough, she could almost forget that the reason she couldn’t finish the sentence was because she didn’t know the answer.


~*~*~*~*~



And they just keep getting longer. . . Bomby's the one who gets the adjective of "poor" this time, too. I'm so mean, but it's for the good of the plot structure.

I really agonized over the scene with Tugger and Deme. It seems like they'd have some character scruples, and I really wanted to address that somehow. That, and there's the scene from the video's Tugger sequence during the musical bridge, where he comes up and waves his hand in front of her facetiously, and then steals something while she hisses and makes a swipe at him (run on sentence). . . I can never figure out what it is he takes from her, though! Cat nip? (Deme's got a habit. . .)

And finally, Mungo and Rumple scored some dialogue (even if that ending was OMGsorandom)! I'm so glad they were able to work their way in. There was spying in abundance this chapter, along with the fluff - Vicki watching Jemi's dance, Deme listening to Tugger's serenade, the Notorious Duo scoping out Bomba. . . This story is turning out to have a lot of unintentionally similar themes. It furthers the whole "episode" theory. Jellicle soap opera!

Anyway, hope you enjoyed this monstrous thing as much as I enjoyed writing it. It feels so good to be back in the fan fiction loop - and the composing loop, in general. Comments and critiques are equally welcomed!

Post-story nattering, end. XD


Chapter 6, Act II End!





Previous Chapters:

Chapter 1 - The Fragile Cusp of Queenhood
Chapter 2 - Girl Talk
Chapter 3 - All's Fair. . .
Chapter 4 - Hypocritical Cats
Chapter 5 - Whispered Confessions, Shouted Secrets

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The Island of the Fay

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from: atraphoenix
date: Feb. 6th, 2007 06:53 pm (UTC)
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Loooooooong. But excellent, as usual. Although I should point out I think there's a problem with your bold HTNL in the first part of this chaper.

Much love for Teazer and Jerrie <3

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