“Are you sure this is going to work?” Wrinkling her exceptionally dainty little white nose, she gracefully started washing her delicate ear tips with the elegant perfection that always followed her every movement.
Rolling his eyes, Mistoffelees gestured for her to go under the blanket. “I’ve been practising enough.” He muttered under his breath, wondering how anyone who was perfect in manner and appearance as Victoria could be as downright annoying as she was! One of those little unwritten rules of nature perhaps.
She always had been a strange cat, he mused, as her white tail disappeared under the red material behind her. No cat was ever that annoyingly perfect. Although they never admitted it to any other species, they all had their little faults.
As one of the sleek white legs suddenly poked out from the blanket and rose to a vertical position, Mistoffeless winced and squinted out from pressed-shut eyes. The fact she seemed to be made of rubber was another of her annoying faults.
“Vic,” He hissed sharply. “Quit it with the leg thing!”
There was an overly-chirpy giggle and the leg disappeared, as Mistoffelees growled under his breath, his paws punching at the air in aggravation.
“Misto?” The bell-like voice rang through his head, as the little white face peeked out at him, wide eyes curious. “What are you doing?”
Pressing his white lips together, his firmly pushed her head back under the blanket, with the curt reply. “I’m waiting for you to keep all of your white, fuzzy self under that freakin’ blanket!”
Shaking his head with a sigh of disgust, he fought back his irritation. She was the only queen who was willing to help him and he knew he should be grateful, but - because it was Victoria and because she was the ditsiest kitten in the yard - he couldn’t help but wonder why he had even bothered to practise at all, if none of the rest of the tribe trusted him and his magic.
“Ready?” He enquired. The high-pitched giggle had the same effect as someone dragging their claws across a blackboard and he shuddered, feeling the familiar tingle as his magic started flowing through him.
An explosion of lightening and sparks erupted from his claws and - instinctively - he pressed his eyes shut against the blinding glare.
Blinking as the spots of light faded from his vision, a remarkable smoky smell permeated the air, a twinge of puzzlement pricking at him. It shouldn’t smell so…burned.
Looking down at the ground, his mouth dropped open and shut like a dumb goldfish, but no sound came out. Squatting down, he hastily patted at the flames on the blanket, flipping it over and probing through the singed mass of material for the notorious white cat, but she was gone.
“Munkus!” The silver tabby turned to almost be bowled over by the hyperventilating Mistoffelees. “She’s gone! She’s disappeared and I can’t bring her back! And it went on fire and I couldn’t do anything and what do I do? Tell me what to do Munkus!”
Holding up his paws, Munkustrap said in his calming and most soothing voice. “Now, Misto, tell me what happened.”
“Victoria.” Wheezed the little Tux, his paws on his thighs as he leaned forward trying to catch his breath. “She was helping with my magic…I did the same thing as usual…but now she’s disappeared and I can’t find her to bring her back!”
“Wait, wait, wait!” Holding up his paws, Munkustrap fought the desperate urge to rub his ears. “Can I check something here? Victoria is gone? Victoria? As in the white cat that has the elastic tendencies to rival a rubber band? Disappeared? Completely? And you don’t know where?”
Mistoffelees nodded reluctantly, expecting - at the very least - to be given some extremely serious and horrible punishment by the Jellicle Leader-to-be for making one of the most re-known Jellicles vanish.
“Am I in trouble?” He asked sheepishly, shuffling his paws.
“In trouble?” Munkustrap echoed, his face splitting into a massive grin. “Are you kidding? This is the best news in the world!”
“It is?” Needless to say, the little tom was somewhat confused.
Clapping the little tom on the back so hard he almost fell, Munkustrap burst into delighted laughter. “You’re telling me you actually liked little Miss ‘I’m-so-white-and-perfect-and-sweet-so-love-me-all-Jellicles’ Vicci?”
“Er…” Shrugging, Mistoffelees allowed himself a grin. “Not really.”
“In that case…” Munkustrap looked around the yard, a wicked smirk on his lips. “It’s time for a party…a tribute to the dear little queen…of course!” No more rubber kitty, the voice in his head crowed triumphantly.
Gathering the tribe, the news quickly spread of Victoria’s disappearance and Mistoffelee’s involvement in it.
“She can’t be gone!” Electra wailed, tears streaming down her face, as she charged at Mistoffelees - who suddenly felt rather guilty - grabbing him by the chest fur. “Bring her back! She can’t be gone.”
“Calm down, Lec.” Munkustrap touched her head.
Whirling around, Electra glared tearfully up at him. “Did she borrow your one-of-a-kind, specially made catnip carrier, Munk? That witch owes me a catnip holder!”
“Its ok, Lec.” He hugged her fondly, grinning down at the multicoloured little queen. “ And I thought you liked the cat.”
“What can I say?” She smirked. “I’m a good actress.” Looking around at the rest of the tribe, she raised her paws in a questioning shrug. “So, where’s this party?”
Still piled in a massive heap, the tribe had been lying there for several days, since the week long party had finished. Overdosed on catnip and barrels of booze that Macavity - on a friendly visit to celebrate the disappearance of Victoria - had supplied, they were all floating several miles above the yard, oblivious of the threat of the forthcoming, mother of all hangovers that would descend on them within minutes…descend being the operative word.
Wrinkling his nose, Mistoffelees groaned as a drop of cold rain splattered on his little black nose. Huddling deeper under the mass of fur, he opened one eye and looked to the skies, squinting at the gathering black clouds.
Something inside him tingled, as he watched the clouds. Tilting his head, he found Coricopat and Tantomile’s twin faces regarding him and the skies simultaneously.
“Something weird’s going on.” He muttered, his voice sounding like thunder in his ears.
Nodding in time with one another, they frowned. “If we didn’t know better.” They whispered carefully to him. “We can feel the presence of Victoria…only multiplied…like there are hundreds of her.”
“Bugger it.” He moaned, his paws clutching his throbbing temples. “I bet its just this frickin’ hangover.”
As the other tribe members started stirring, Mistoffelees pulled out of the heap, blinking up at the sky. A feeling of impending dread hit him as he spotted a white speck falling from high above the junkyard, followed by another. Then another and another and another. Balls of white raining down from the skies.
“What are those?” Yawning, Jemima crawled over to his side, resting her head in his lap. “The white things?”
“Falling star?” He shrugged dismissively, still unable to shake the feeling of panic. Staring up at he, he shivered as it grew larger and larger as it fell, gradually taking on an ominously familiar form: a sleek and smooth white cat.
There was a loud crash as the white thing impacted behind the stove, waking the rest of the half-conscious tribe.
“Hello everybody!” The chirpy voice cut through their hungover minds like a shard of glass. “Have you missed perfect little me?”
From behind the stove, the dreaded white cat emerged, her usual dazzlingly annoying smile printed on her face as she greeted the tribe.
Simultaneously, there were several more loud crashes as more and more of the white balls smashed around the edge of the yard, rising and moving forward to surround the suddenly-terrified tribe.
“Hello everybody!” Louder than a crash of thunder, but sharper than cut glass, all the piercing voices rang out simultaneously, leaving most of the Jellicles cringing, their paws over their ears. “Have you missed perfect little me?”
“Misto…” Munkustrap started backing away from the white felines. “What have you done? What have YOU done?”
Shaking his head, Mistoffelees licked his lips, barely able to speak. “I…I dunno…its not my fault, Munk…its not my fault!”
“He’s right.” The first one of the Victoria’s stepped forward alone, somehow different. Instead of a crystal-studded collar like all the others, a narrow silver band circled her slim throat, her arms folded across her chest, a smirk on her lips. “He merely gave me an excuse to return to my home planet.”
“Planet?” Mistoffelees mumbled weakly.
“Yes. Planet.” Her voice was a piercingly clear as ever. “I, Sh’alee, - of the Vica-Ta-Ree’ea people - wanted to find a new territory to conquer. This tribe was easy to join and to investigate without suspicion. Now, I have come to take leadership. You can not stop me.”
“I can!” Mistoffelees shouted desperately, trying to boost the tribe’s confidence in him. Leaping forward, he threw his paws into the air, a burst of light half-blinding them. With a sharp spell, he opened his eyes to see his magic hat on the ground before him.
“Misto.” Munkustrap cautioned uneasily. “Remember what happened the last time you used that hat for magic…”
“Don’t worry.” His brows came down in concentration, as he tightly whispered. “I know exactly what I’m doing.”
“So you know what you were doing?” Bombalurina growled, as her arms were pinioned behind her by the eighth batch of the seven white kittens that Mistoffelees had successfully produced out of his hat. “You really, really know?”
Sheepishly whining, he lowered his head, unable to believe what horribly cruel hand fate had dealt him. Cursed to be the mate of that freakin’ white leader! He couldn’t stand the living rubber band, even as a friend.
“Let him be, Bomb.” Demeter murmured to her sister, her futile struggles barely acknowledged by the expanding fleets of white cats. “He’s already got the worst part of the deal.” Nodding towards the white queen who had perched herself with gracefully irritating perfection, the black and gold queen made a suggest thrust of her hips, smirking at the unfortunate Mistoffelees.
“I didn’t mean it.” He mumbled pitifully to himself, as the remainder of the tribe were herded into a large pen, like a grumbling flock of hungover and very depressed sheep-that-looked-uncommonly-like-cats.
“What did you say, my dearest, sweetykins?” Victoria cooed, leaning down to ruffle his thick, black fur.
Narrowing his eyes, Mistoffelees grabbed her wrist, twisting it away from his head. “I said.” He hissed. “I hate you, your tribe and all white cats and there is no way in hell I’ll willingly be your mate! EVER!”
“Oh, Misto!” Throwing her arms around him, she batted her perfectly perfect long, curly eyelashes and puckered her perfectly smooth and neat lips, her perfectly manicured claws tracing under his chin. “I love it when you play hard to get!”
“Deuteronomy help me!” He mentally screamed. “Anybody! HEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEELP!”
Picking at the steely bars of their prison, Demeter glanced down at Munkustrap. The silver tom had never been in such bad shape before, rocking back and forward, his ears fearfully flattened against his skull. “Except once.” She murmured to herself. “When those Munkuholics…” She shuddered at the memory.
Turning her attention back to Bombalurina, she softly enquired. “What’s going on out there?”
When her sister didn’t respond, she peeked through the slits between the bars, an audible sigh of relief escaping her. Most of the white cats had vanished and only the leader remained - trying to drag Mistoffelees back onto the tyre. That’s funny, Demeter grinned wryly, I didn’t know his scream was so girly.
Watching as Mistoffelees claws sank into the ground as he tried to tear himself away from the demonically perfect white cat, Demeter spotted a familiar blur of ginger exploding into the yard, a chuckle escaping her. Of course, Macavity would be the first to contest the new leader. He always insisted if anyone else was going to take over the tribe, it would be him.
Storming towards the ‘throne’ of the white queen, he tilted his head to stare down at the struggling mate of the new leader.
“I don’t want to be your mate! I don’t want to! I don’t want to! Lemme go, you stupid cat!” Latching onto Macavity’s ankle, Mistoffelees stared up pleadingly. “Get her off me, Mac, please…she’s tryin’ to kill me! I swear!"
Biting his lip, Macavity raised a deadly serious face to the queen, then looked down at Mistoffelees again. “Why don’t you want to be the nice queen’s mate?” he enquired, a wicked twinkle in his eyes.
“Are you kidding?” Mistoffelees hissed furiously, wrapping his arms around the wild-furred, ginger legs. “Would you want to mate with a psycho with a personality cross between a satanic rottweiler, a calender-pose kitten and a rubber band?”
“Ah yes.” Nodding sympathetically, Macavity winced and looked up at the queen. “I can see why there’s a distinct lack of appeal there.”
Giving his leg a firm jerk, he sent Mistoffelees rolling away from Victoria and stepped in front of her as she moved to go after her pwecious widdle poopsy.
“Pardon me.” Smiling coolly, he gazed down curiously at the white cat. “I hate to tell you, but I’m taking charge here, doll. I’m a big, strong tom and a nice little lady such as yourself shouldn’t have to do so much work.”
“You tell her!” Several of the toms plucked up the courage to back the cowering Munkustrap’s half-brother, who was preferential to the demented and frightening white cat.
A crystal-clear tinkle of angelically beautiful laughter rang across the yard. “I don’t think so, buddy.”
“Now…” Macavity started forward threateningly, until Victoria gave an ear-splitting warble. “What the…?”
“I don’t think so!” A million Victoria-esque voices giggled in harmony.
Whirling around, Macavity stared at the horde upon horde of white-furred enemy, lining up in neat, parallel ranks. Picking up his tail, he pulled it between his legs, holding the tip to his chest and blinked around nervously at the veritable army.
“Retreating with my tail between my legs IS an option here, isn’t it?” He asked, his eyes full of hopeful terror, before making a break for it, leaving a Macavity-shaped hole in the massive wooden fence surrounding the yard.
“Oh brother.” Munkustrap moaned, peeking weakly between his claws.
Glancing down at the silver tabby, Jennyanydots sighed. “You could say that, Munk. But would you really want to admit it?”
“He was one of our only hopes.” Munkustrap mumbled, burying his head in his paws. “And he turned and ran away. The flippin’ Napoleon of Crime!”
“Who were our other hopes?” Skimbleshanks hissed over his shoulder, watching the scene unfold in the middle of the yard. “One wouldn’t happen to be Rumpus would it?”
Raising his head weakly, Munkustrap nodded warily. “Rumpus was the last hope…why do you ask, Skimble?”
Pointing a trembling claw through the prison bars, Skimbleshanks couldn’t find the words to continue, his face a picture of a culmination of wildly raging emotions: Disbelief, horror and complete and utter hysteria.
Twirling around delicately, the Rumpus cat smiled brightly and waved to the group in the cage, his claws neatly manicured and painted with a delicate pink gloss, his wild and wiry fur carefully conditioned, smooth and shiny, his lashes curled.
“How do I look?” Preening, he smoothed the large silk bow on his tail carefully, tossing the end of the extra-long, pink feather boa over his shoulder.
“You look wonderful, darling!” The lead Victoria purred happily, stepping back to admire her handiwork, a merry smirk on her perfect face. “Makeovers are wonderful things!”
“Rumpus!” Howled Munkustrap from the cage. “What the hell do you think you’re playing at? You look frickin’ ridiculous, you idiot! You’re meant to get us out of here! Not consort with the enemy!”
Prancing over on the spindly-looking cerise stilettos, Rumpus bent down to regard the silver tabby out of lilac-shaded eyes, glitter blush sparkling on his black cheeks, his ruby-red lips pursed in a look of disdain. “I know what this is about!” He simpered, wagging a neat, pink claw at the tom. “You’re just jealous!”
Turning on heel at Munkustrap’s speechless silence, the Great Rumpus Cat flicked his tail and boa in a simultaneous, disdainful gesture. Balancing on the precarious heels, he made his way back to Victoria and gave her a dainty air-kiss on both cheeks.
“See you tomorrow for the tupperware party?”
“Wouldn’t miss it.” Settling back on the tyre, which was now carefully decorated with pink throw-pillows and rose petals. Turning her wide and innocent eyes to Munkustrap’s furious face, she smiled sweetly and settled down to reign the junkyard.
Rubbing his head, Tugger yawned, trying to remember just where he was. He remembered catnip…and catnip…and perhaps some more catnip. Grinning, he arched his back and yawned, flexing his cramped muscles.
His paw slammed against something metallic, making a strange ‘clang’ sound. “What the…?” Sitting up lazily, he looked around at the obstruction with a frown of consternation, particularly at the tufts of silvery-grey and black fur peeking through the gaps.
“Tugger?” Hearing the anxiety in his brother’s voice, the tom crept closer to the barred prison and peered through awkwardly, his mind still somewhat fuzzy about what exactly had been going on since he’d been blissed out. In fact, he didn’t even know what day it was.
“Wassa matta?” He grunted, picking a tuft of Jennyanydots fluff from between his teeth. How it got there, he felt safe not knowing. “Why ya in a box?”
Urgently, Munkustrap gestured for him to lower his voice and hastily explained everything that had happened in the time that the Tugger had been passed out in a puddle of his self-centredness…and drool, but we don’t want to discuss his hygiene problems at the moment.
Sitting back, Tugger regarded his brother - or what he could see of his brother between the minuscule slits in the mesh - with intrigue, his mind racing.
“I know how to beat her.” He remarked conversationally, examining the back of his paws. “It’s easy enough done. You should have come to me first.”
“How?” Munkustrap demanded heatedly. Being locked in a cage for several days, knowing his semi-sober brother was lying - free - barely feet away and finding out that the brother knew how to beat their rivals didn’t exactly do anything for Munkustrap’s sweetness-and-light disposition.
Grinning, the younger tom shrugged expressively. “Depends on the price I get for it, bro.”
“Price?” Staring at him uncomprehendingly, Munkustrap blinked, his anger getting stronger and stronger by degrees. “Why you…!”
“Now, now!” Tugger wagged a claw at him. “We can’t have you calling your last and only hope names now, big brother. Do we have a deal?”
Rubbing his paws together wickedly, Tugger replied. “I get first choice of all the queens, no matter who they are and you won’t complain about my flirting anymore. Deal?”
Albeit reluctantly, the silver tom nodded. He knew he didn’t have a choice and - if he knew his brother as well as he did - the plan he had might just be crazy enough to work!
“Hey, hey, ladies.” Tugger casually strolled out into the yard, looking round at all the white queens. “My, my. Nice to see all the management of the joint are better lookin’ now!”
Giggling several of the queens hid their faces behind their paws and Munkustrap felt like he had been kicked in the stomach. He had set a horny cat on a whole tribe of females, right in front of him and the rest of the tribe!
Winking back over his shoulder, Tugger smirked. He was in his element and the queens were loving it, surrounding him and fawning all over him as if he were the dish of the day, which - he chuckled - he was.
Spotting Munkustrap out of the corner of his eye, he bit back a grin and approached the lead queen, the Victoria he knew rather well and swept into a bow.
“Queen Victoria, I assume?” As she blushed, he pulled himself to his full height and said softly. “I would like to make a wager with you.”
“Oh?” Intrigued, she nodded.
Smirking sexily, he murmured. “If I can defeat your whole army, just by standing on that tyre, you will free the tribe and get the hell out of our territory. If not, its all yours and I’ll commit nooky with ya as often as you want.”
Ignoring the agonised wail from the cages, he raised his eyes suggestively. “What do you have to lose?”
“Go ahead.” The queen replied glibly, moving from her ‘throne’ and joining the legions of her army. “Defeat us, just by standing there.”
“Sure thing, toots.” Tugger smirked and jerked his pelvis forward in a wildly erotic thrust that tore at Munkustrap’s stomach to watch. Moves like that were just not meant to be physically possible!
But he found he couldn’t look away, his amazed eyes watching all the white army collapsing in rapturous swoons, all thanks to his horny brother and his errant pelvis. For once, Munkustrap thanked the Everlasting Cat for his brother’s incredible sex appeal.
As the cages were opened and the tribe rushed out, the lead Victoria cautiously walked up to Tugger and Munkustrap, an impressed expression in her eyes.
“I underestimated you.” She said, her hands folded in front of her gravely, her eyes lowered. “You were truly worthy rivals for this territory.” Moving away, she and her tribe melted away, disappearing into the night sky.
“Worthy rivals.” Tugger murmured, staring at the skies. “I’ve never heard anyone call my bits and bobs that before.”
Turning to his younger brother incredulously, Munkustrap couldn’t hold back a hysterical burst of laughter. “You’re crazy! You and you bits and bobs!”
“Yeah,” Tugger smiled serenely. “But we did a pretty good job of saving the tribe, didn’t we?”
“That you did.” Munkustrap followed his brother’s gaze to the disappearing white dots and softly repeated. “That you did.”
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