Mistoffelees opened his eyes slowly, taking in the morning light. He stretched and crept out of the cardboard box he had been sleeping in. Typically, Mistoffelees spent much of his time alone, contemplating and daydreaming. Occasionally one of the other young toms would pull him into a game, but usually they let him alone to his quiet ways. He did notice that some of the queen kittens were starting to pay attention to him, which made him both nervous and flattered. One in particular, Victoria, had more or less 'chosen' him as 'hers' and the other kittens avoided making her jealous. Misto wasn't quite sure how to feel about this attention, but he figured it would make sense when he got a little older. Even though… he was at that age where the idea of a mate was peaking his interest… someone to spend time with and cuddle with and snuggle with and watch the stars with…
He had just started slipping into daydream when one of the toms his age, Tumblebrutus, pounced him from behind.
"Oops!... sorry... I … um…thought you were… Pouncival."
"... you what?... I look nothing like Pouncival!" Misto complained, sprawled flat on his stomach.
Before Tumble could explain himself, the real Pouncival charged in and leapt onto the pile.
"UMPH!" Misto grunted, now pinned hopelessly to the ground.
"Eh hey get off..."
"Aw be careful, you'll break the little tom's ribs..." Plato's smooth voice came from behind.
"Hehehe oops..." Pouncival rolled to the side and Tumble followed.
"Sorry Misto..." Tumble offered meekly before being pounced by Pouncival. "Yarg!"
Misto looked up to thank Plato, but the older tom had moved on. A round of giggles from behind a box announced the presence of Electra, Etcetera, Jemima and Victoria.
"Ohboy." Misto groaned, putting his paws over his head. "...Maybe if I lay reeeal still..."
"Hey whatcha doin lying in the dirt like that?"
"Did you fall down?"
"Here lemmie help you up..." Electra offered, after Etcetera and Jemima had spoken.
Victoria gave Electra an icy glare that told her to back off. Jemima had caught sight of a feather floating in the air and gone off chasing it. Etcetera giggled and ran off to find Tugger to make mooneyes at. Electra and Victoria stood at a stand off. Misto sensed it was not a good idea to stay where he was, so he got up and snuck away.
"If ANYone... is going... to help Misto up." Victoria announced icily. "... it will be..."
Electra burst into giggles when she noticed that Misto had disappeared. Victoria gasped with fury of being so humiliated. Electra giggled again and ran off before Victoria had collected herself.
"Sheez..." Misto sighed, flopping down on the hood of a broken car. He lay on his back, soaking up the sun, scratching his chest lightly. "mmm..."
Peace at last.
Tumblebrutus and Pouncival rolled down a hill and landed on the bottom in a heap. Pounce untangled himself and coiled up to spring again as Tumble was getting up. Bombalurina and Demeter walked by having a conversation. Pouncival’s attention was immediately diverted, and he left Tumble alone while he followed the queens like a lovesick puppy dog.
“Hah… I win!” Tumble laughed, brushing the dirt from his fur. Pouncie really was an idiot, Tumble thought to himself. Chasing after queens all the time… is that all he ever thought about? He got up and took a walk, thinking. True, he never paid much attention to the queens. Except to pull the occasional prank. But he was almost a year old, and he had begun to want a mate.
“… Now how is that gonna work…” Tumble wondered out loud.
“How’s what gonna work?” Plato’s smooth voice came from where the auburn and white tom was reclining in the shade.
“Um…” Tumble blushed. He hadn’t realized there was anyone else around. “I was just uh… thinking…”
Plato smiled. “About?”
“Um… about finding a mate…”
”Ahh… you’re at that age, aren’t you?”
”I guess so…”
“Got your eye on some pretty queen?”
“… No, actually… that’s what uh… was confusing me…” He smiled nervously.
A tom? Why would he be looking at a tom? Tumble wondered. Even if he did have a tom in mind… Toms didn’t mate with other toms! At least, that’s what he always thought…
Tumble laughed nervously. “What?”
Plato grinned and stretched out. “How about Misto? Adorable little tom… don’t you think? A bit shy…”
Tumble blushed. He did think of Misto a bit differently than he did the other toms… was it really that obvious?
Plato smiled. “Bet you just wish you could go up to him… pull him into your arms… “
Tumble felt himself nodding. He blushed. “Oh but… it … it doesn’t work like that…”
“Why not? The worst that could happen is … well. “
”I’d get kicked out of the tribe! Come on. Toms don’t pair up with other toms…”
”… Well because… toms pair up with queens!”
”But you don’t like queens. What fun would that be?”
Tumble paused. He hadn’t thought about it much before, but what Plato was saying made sense. “But… I… don’t know how…”
“Don’t know how to what?”
Tumble blushed deeply. How was he supposed to ask about… that? “Uh… when… er… if… a tom and a tom… pair up as mates… how, er… do they…”
Plato smiled. “Ohh… right. Well…”
Tumble sat and listened intently as Plato explained to him how a tom and a tom did what a tom and a queen did when they paired up as mates.
”Ohh… “ He nodded, smiling nervously.
“It’ll all come naturally once you get started…” Plato assured him. “First, though… you gotta tell him how you feel… and see if he feels the same way.”
Tumble swallowed hard. “Thanks… I’ll uh… go find him…”
Tumble stumbled off in search of Mistoffelees.
A crash nearby jolted Mistoffelees back into reality from his daydream and set his fur on end. Tumblebrutus crept sheepishly from a pile of tin cans, dusting himself off. Misto rolled over and watched as the brown and white tom stumbled and nearly tripped before climbing up beside him on the car hood.
Misto smiled at the other tom's attempt to play his crash off. Tumble stretched out casually in the sun, trying to look unruffled. Misto giggled when he began to slip.
"Careful!" Misto grinned, offering a paw. Tumble took it with a shy grin and settled down in a less precarious spot. He wondered what was on Tumble's mind. They didn't talk much usually, just sometimes shared a laugh at Pouncival's expense. The two soaked up the sun for a few minutes without talking before Tumble spoke.
"Um... we're friends, right?"
"Uh sure..." Misto wasn't sure exactly how he categorized Tumble, but he didn’t' want to hurt his feelings.
"Friends talk about stuff... right?"
"I suppose." Truth was, Misto didn't feel as though he had many friends, since he never talked to too many other cats.
"Like... queens and stuff..."
"Queens?" Oddly the thought hadn't entered his mind, even though he was nearly a year old.
"I mean I guess..." Tumble shrugged, playing with his tail.
"Is there a queen you like?... Is it Victoria? Because if it is... I mean, I don't care, go ahead..."
"No! No no.. I mean... heheh... nah, I'm not interested in Viccy."
Misto rolled over to face the brown and white tom. "Who... Bomby?" Misto teased.
"Oh Geez... no... No!... Pouncie’s like totally obsessed with her, though."
Misto laughed. Everyone knew Pouncival worshipped the ground Bombalurina walked on.
Tumble shook his head.
Tumble made a face. "... Erm.. she's nice but... kind of..."
Misto nodded, grinning.
"Okay okay... Etcetera?"
"Who in their right mind would try to take her attention away from Tugger?"
Misto laughed, "oh yeah yeah..."
"Who're you interested in?"
"Me? I thought this was about you..." Misto grinned, curious now that Tumble was avoiding the question.
"Well it is, it is... heheh.. I guess... you first."
Misto laughed. "Tell you the truth I really don't pay much attention to them..."
"Okay now YOU spill! It's Cassandra, isn't it?... No?... Demeter... she's a bit old for you isn’t' she?...Not her either?... " Misto sat up, looking at Tumble quizzically. "Some new queen in town I haven't seen yet?"
Tumble blushed, evading still.
"Thaat's iiit... Who is she?"
"Actually um.. I was just trying to find out if ... if... I was the only one who didn't think about queens all the time."
Misto tipped his head to the side curiously. "What... come on, not everyone thinks about queens all the time."
"All the other toms I talk to do. Well Skimble... but he's like... busy and stuff all the time."
"Hehe... even Gus?"
"EWww!" Tumble giggled.
"How about Bustopher?" Misto grinned, flopping over next to him.
"EWww! He only thinks about food..." Tumble grinned, giggling.
"So I guess we're not alone."
"I don't think about food or trains all day..."
"Neither do I."
"What do you think about all day?" Tumble asked, seeming more at ease.
"Oh um... different stuff."
"Different stuff..." Tumble teased, batting Misto's tail.
"You know what I mean!... I mean..."
"Not until you tell me..." Tumble grinned, holding Misto's tail up to his face.
"Hayyy gimmie that..."
"Mine!" He giggled, holding Misto's tail prisoner.
"Do you think about tails all day?" Misto asked, preparing to swat Tumble's ears playfully.
"Not all tails. Just yours." Tumble giggled, ducking.
"My tail?" Misto laughed, "Whaaat's so special about my tail..."
"It's so sooofft and preetty..." Tumble went on playfully, petting the white tip.
"Oh you!" Misto giggled, pouncing on the silly tom that would not let his tail go.
They rolled onto the ground wrestling playfully.
"I got your foot now!"
"I thought you only thought about tails..."
"No... feet too. Are you ticklish?" Tumble grinned mischievously.
"Ah! HEhehehe STOP..." Misto pleaded, giggling and squirming.
"Aalllrighty..." Tumble said, letting Misto's leg go and sitting in the middle of his back.
"I think feet and tails are weirder to think about than trains and food..."
"What about ears?" Tumble grinned, holding Misto's ears in both paws.
"Hmmm... them too."
"TUMBLE!" Misto laughed, trying to roll over. Tumble grinned and jumped aside, then pounced Misto again, pinning him flat. "Don't tell me you think about ME all day..." he teased, laughing.
"Okayyy I won't."
Misto laughed, lying back on the ground. He looked up at the brown and white tom that was now watching his face with a shy smile. Misto contemplated for a while, looking up at Tumble's face. Tumble leaned down tentatively and nuzzled him. Confused at first, Misto nuzzled back. Even more unexpectedly, Tumble gave his cheek a soft lick, then looked into his eyes.
"What are you doing..." Misto smiled softly. The gesture was not unpleasant. Misto found that he did not mind the nuzzle or the lick. In fact, he sort of kind of ... liked it. It was just not typical for a tom to behave this way towards another tom.
Tumble blushed nervously, "... I'll stop if you want me to..." He started to pull away.
Misto then began to realize what was going on. "No... " he paused. "... I mean..." Misto looked up into Tumble's face. What did he mean? True, he never thought about queens... but he never thought about toms, really… until now. Now he was thinking about toms. One tom. What did this mean?... He had hardly taken time to contemplate when Tumble did something else unexpected.
Misto felt warm soft kisses start across his shoulder. He could tell they were not experienced kisses, but shy and timid ones. This felt even nicer than the lick... Misto was uncertain as to what Tumble expected him to do. The kissing paused and Tumble nuzzled him again softly. "Umm... do you want to go somewhere else?"
Go somewhere else and what? Misto wondered. He realized he would like to find out...
"uh...sure... sure... um... where?"
"Um... " his gaze wandered up to the trunk of the broken car.
"How do you get in there?"
"... there's a hole in the bottom... I'll show you..." Tumble got up and crept under the car and into the trunk from below. Misto followed into the dimly lit compartment, which had room enough for two cats comfortably, and was not too stuffy. Tumble gazed upon Misto's face, feeling slightly braver in the secluded spot. Misto caught his eyes and smiled very softly as he approached timidly. Tumble nuzzled his shoulder again and put a paw to his side. Misto nuzzled back, gasping softly when he felt Tumble's mouth again, this time on his neck. He let the slightly bigger tom pull him into his lap, exploring with his mouth. Misto tingled with feelings he had never felt before, wrapping his arms around Tumble's back. The two young toms rolled together onto an old blanket that someone had left in a corner. Misto gasped softly as Tumble's mouth moved down his chest. He nuzzled his ears, sighing with pleasure, and then mouthed one and licked slowly along the inner surface. Tumble shivered, and Misto liked the reaction.
Author's Note: The following section has been edited for content; the full, uncut version can be obtained (at my discression) upon request by e-mailing me, email@example.com Also - I'll only send it to people who are 17+
“Misto… will you be my mate?”
Panting, Misto looked into his face, body feeling relaxed and excited at the same time. Be his mate? Misto gazed deeply into his eyes. This was a decision that could affect the rest of his life. Was this what he wanted? Something told him that Tumble really cared for him. He realized that out of all the other cats in the tribe, out of all the cats he knew, that Tumble always seemed to understand him. Now it was clear that he desired him as a partner and found him attractive. Misto’s heart swelled with emotion as he gave his answer.
“Yes…” he breathed.
Author's Note: This is where the original fic continues.
The young lovers continued their passionate efforts until their bodies were spent. Misto gazed up at the tom that was now his mate, feeling a deep affection for him. Tumble pulled Misto into his arms and lay back, nuzzling and grooming him tenderly. Misto swirled his fingers slowly in the fur at the base of Tumble’s ears, purring softly and gazing up at him in adoration. He had been so confused before, but now he knew what had been missing. The two entwined their bodies, basking in the warm lingering pleasure as they drifted into satisfied sleep.
Victoria could not believe that Misto could embarrass her like that. NOBODY did that to her! She would have to have a talk with him and set him in his place. After all, he was lucky enough to have her, he should not abuse the privilege.
“Where is that tom?” She growled, stalking around in a very unladylike manner.
Her ears perked, hearing what sounded like Misto’s voice, except it was rather muffled, and mixed with that of another tom’s. She ventured closer, wondering if he had gotten into a fight. Before she figured out where the noises were coming from they had stopped. The frustrated white queen stood with her paws crossed and twitched her tail angrily.
“What seems to be the trouble, sweetheart?” A tom’s voice purred to her from a shady spot.
“Plato…” She mumbled, shaking her fur back into place somewhat. The poor tom was obviously in love with her and couldn’t stand the thought of her being with anyone else. “Oh only looking for that no good rude lazy tom, Mistoffelees…” She sniffed, slinking over to where he lay.
“Mm… he seems to be the popular one…” Plato grinned slyly, smoothing a bit of fur into place with his paw.
“What are you talking about? That tom has no friends whatsoever. I hardly understand why I let him keep me.”
Plato laughed, rolling onto his back and stretching. “Sweetheart, I think you need to move on.”
Victoria smoothed a whisker back. “Oh I know I’m too good for him. Trouble is, none of the other toms even meet the half way point.”
Plato smiled, obviously amused by the snotty little kitten’s remarks. “Honey… you don’t understand. That tom is not interested in you. You’re too late! Move on, he’s found someone already.”
Victoria flared up at this. “WHAT are you talking about? Ohhh I’m sure it’s that Electra, the little slut… I am going to tear her to pieces!!”
“Hang on… before you start with the bloodletting… “
“That chicken Mistoffelees didn’t even have the guts to tell me to my face!!”
“Sugar, he only just hooked up. I’m sure everyone will hear about it tomorrow night…”
”The Jellicle Ball?? He would NOT embarrass me like that…”
Plato grinned. “Poor little queen… no date for the ball…”
Victoria smirked. “Be nice and I just might let you take me.”
“I’ll wear my best collar…” He said, watching her as she strutted off. Oh she was such a spoiled brat, but with a body like that? He was willing to put up with her for a night.
Night had already fallen by the time Tumble woke up. He held Misto in his arms and gently stroked his cheek with a curled finger, gazing upon his beautiful face as he slept. The conjuring cat’s eyelids fluttered and opened slowly. Misto murmured softly and looked up into Tumble’s smiling face.
“I love you…” Tumble purred softly, kissing over Misto’s forehead.
“Mmm…” Misto purred. “I love you too…”
The young toms were about to share a tender kiss when they were interrupted by low voices and giggles. Tumble put his arms protectively around Misto and sat up, listening intently. Misto crouched down and snuggled into Tumble’s fur. Both of their attentions were focused on the hole in the bottom of the trunk that was the only way in or out.
“Sss.. shh…” a tom whispered hoarsely. Two young queens giggles were heard.
Tumble groaned softly, putting a paw to his forehead. “Tugger…” he whispered.
”Oh no…” Mistoffelees whispered back, cowering behind his mate.
“Don’t worry… nothing’s gonna happen…”
“Are you suuuure nobody else knows about this place?”
“Positive, babe… just be quiet so we can keep it that way, hm?”
Tumble rolled his eyes. “I can’t believe he’s got two of them…”
Misto held his breath, shivering with nervousness. Tumble groomed his ears affectionately.
“Tuggy baby, are you sure there’s no nasty roaches in there? I hate roaches…”
“Uh… no roaches… and don’t call me ‘Tuggy baby’, alright?”
Misto buried his face in Tumble’s chest and whimpered. Tugger and two of those teenyboppers?? Those were the LAST ones he wanted stumbling upon him and his new mate. He could just imagine their reaction. The thought made Misto cower more. Maybe this wasn’t such a good idea… Tumble’s purring calmed his nerves somewhat.
Tugger poked his head up through the entrance hole. Tumble swallowed hard and cleared his throat. The Tugger held up his paw to stifle the nervous queens waiting outside, taking a good look at the scene before him.
Misto peeked under Tumble’s arm and saw Tugger staring at them. He let out a small cry of surprise and buried his face in Tumble’s fur again. Tumble pet his back soothingly and kissed his ears, whispering calming things to his frightened mate. He looked back at Tugger, wondering what he should do.
They didn’t have to do anything, because at that moment Munkustrap and Jenny-Any-Dots walked by and spotted the two kittens out past curfew. The queens squealed and bolted, leaving Tugger with his upper half caught in the trunk. Jenny started giving Tugger a lecture about being a bad influence on tender young minds while Munkustrap watched on sternly.
“Will you just give me a…” Tugger grumbled, trying to pull himself from the car. Jenny continued to chastise him. Finally he crawled out and stood up, giving his ruff a flip and smoothing a whisker into place.
”Hey, what’s the problem?”
”What’s the problem??” Jenny shrieked.
Munkustrap just shook his head.
Tumble and Misto looked at each other as they heard Tugger get chewed out. As soon as the arguing had died down, Tumble ventured forth to check if it was clear. Seeing the area deserted, he went back to Misto and nuzzled him. The two slipped out into the night to find a less precarious sleeping place.
Plato smiled at them under the waxing moon from his place atop a junk heap. They made such a cute couple he had to admit. If only he were that lucky…
Alonzo and Ademetus grunted and heaved to move a large piece of junk that was in the way for the Jellicle Ball. Jenny-Any-Dots supervised to make sure nothing too dangerous was left around for the kittens to hurt themselves on. Munkustrap made another survey of the area to make sure there were no troublemakers hanging about.
Pouncival and Electra were arguing over the last kipper on the table at the early buffet while Victoria cultivated her popularity as Jemima and Etcetera followed her around. Jellicle hopefuls gathered in one corner awaiting initiation and approval. Tugger scoped out the new arrivals with a discriminating eye.
“Neewp… noo… ah, that one I’d have in a snap of my fingers… hehee… “
Mungojerrie and Rumpleteazer sat in a corner trying not to look suspicious. Demeter, Bombalurina and Cassandra chatted as they watched the adult toms lug around heavy objects.
“Cori, keep your end up!” Plato grunted, hefting one side of an oil drum deemed unsafe by Jenny.
“Ooff… sorry… “
Tantomile discussed with Exotica on the prospect of a singles night held at the Junkyard once a month.
Jellylorum did her best to keep Gus from spiking the punch again as Asparagus polished off the deviled mice.
Tumblebrutus and Mistoffelees were the only ones not there yet, aside from Skimbleshanks and Bustopher, who were of course busied with trains and food.
Pouncival grumbled as Electra won the arm wrestling match for the last kipper.
“Hey, anyone seen Tumble?”
”I haven’t… hey, Misto’s not here yet either.”
“That tom is probably off somewhere with his new hussy right now…” Victoria growled under her breath. “PLATO… get me a glass of punch.”
“Em… kind of busy at the moment.”
”I SAID GET ME A GLASS OF PUNCH!!”
The tall cat set down his end of the drum, walked over to the punch bowl, ladled out a glass, and walked over to Victoria.
”No problem.” He replied, putting on a false smile. At least he was sure to get some before the night was done.
“There he is!” Jemima called out giddily.
”Who, Misto?” Victoria demanded.
“Um… Nooo… wait! Yes! That’s him. With Tumblebrutus, too! YAYYY everyone’s here!” The multicolored queen squealed, clapping her paws.
“Are you sure?” Misto whispered nervously, chewing on his lower lip in a way that was so cute it was all Tumble could do to keep from kissing him.
“Everything’ll be fine! If we don’t go, everyone’ll wonder what happened to us…”
”Yeah, you’re right.” Tumble’s confidence made Misto feel a lot better. “Hookay, let’s go.” Misto managed a brave grin. Tumble gave him a quick nuzzle and lick on the cheek before stepping forward, paw in paw with his new mate.
All the activity in the center of the junkyard paused as the new couple made their way over to the buffet table. Victoria looked positively appalled, as she stood frozen in shock. Plato got a face full of punch as the infuriated queen stormed over to confront the two. Munkustrap came back just in time to see Misto receive a slap across the face and to save Tumble from a severe claw attack. Most of the queens rushed forward to pry Viccy away and console her. Her outraged wails rang through the junkyard as she was escorted aside in tears. Misto held his paw to the side of his face that now showed a bright red mark.
“Bitch!” Tumble hissed at Viccy before turning his attention towards Misto, who stuttered slightly and insisted that he was fine. He nuzzled him affectionately and slipped his arm around his waist. Misto nuzzled back, sticking close to Tumble’s side.
Munkustrap stood before them with a dumbfounded look on his face. Slowly, everyone who wasn’t consoling Viccy in her screaming fit approached and made a circle around the young couple.
“Ahm… hey, everyone! Hehh… sorry we’re late.” Tumble cleared his throat nervously. “Is the food all gone?”
Misto tucked his head under Tumble’s arm, hiding his face from the inquiring eyes. Tumble kissed behind his ear and whispered soothing words to him.
“Oi, what’re they doin’ ‘angen off eachuther loik that?” Rumpleteazer’s Cockney accent broke the hush.
“Shhh!” Mungojerrie hissed. Sure, she was an excellent partner in crime, but sometimes she was blunt to a fault, the multicolored tom thought.
“Whaat? Don’t shush me… Look at ‘em! It’s loik they was mates or somethin’… ‘ats not natural! Is it?”
Mungo sighed apologetically and clamped his paw over Teazer’s mouth.
“Ahm… Glad you made it!”
”YEOWCH! She bit me!!”
“All right everyone, let’s not stand around all night.” Munkustrap started to break up the knot around the nervous couple.
The Ball went smoothly enough after that with only the occasional awkward stare when Tumble and Misto shared affection, until the mating dance. Usually, everyone minded their own business and the couples performed their amorous rights without fuss, but when Tumble slid his paws down Misto’s body and pulled his legs around him, the two discovered that this was not to be the case for them.
“Oh my god I can’t believe they’re going to do that in front of everyone…” a shocked queen whispered.
Misto looked up into Tumble’s face with a nervous expression, feeling vulnerable in such a compromising position. Tumble nuzzled the side of his neck and kissed over his shoulders, purring soothingly.
Plato had Victoria’s mouth busy with his own as his paws slid and groped over her body. The white queen refused to give Misto and Tumble a second glance, instead drowning her frustration in hot, careless abandon with Plato.
Munkustrap had given into Demeter’s insistence that he relax and have a good time. The silver tabby allowed himself to let go and enjoy the passionate lover’s embrace of his queen. He kissed her deeply, feeling his body respond with pleasure, until the sounds of conflict reached his ears.
“What the hell?” He spat angrily, jerking his head towards the commotion.
Two large toms from the group of cats waiting to be initiated into the tribe had crowded around Tumble and Misto and were obviously causing trouble. Tumble was crouched over Mistoffelees’ trembling form, hissing and trying to fend off the attackers. Munkustrap rose and pushed his way over to the fight, grabbing one of the toms by the scruff. The other had succeeded in knocking Tumble aside and had proceeded to smack Misto around, growling and hissing cruel names at him. Munkustrap growled menacingly.
“Yeah we will, as soon as we deal with these little queers…”
Tumble recovered from his fall and leapt at Misto’s attacker, biting him hard on the shoulder. Misto scrambled backwards, shaken up and slightly injured from the ordeal. The tom Munkustrap had by the neck tried to yank away and go after Misto, but the Jellicle leader struck him hard and pounced, knocking him to the ground. Tumble was having trouble avoiding the larger toms’ claws as he slashed and bit viciously. Misto set his ears back and leapt to Tumble’s aid. Soon the other Jellicles were helping to kick out the troublemakers, who eventually fled to tend to their wounds. Misto collapsed in a faint when he noticed that he was bleeding, and Tumble rushed to his side. The others made room as Tumble set Misto on the ground and licked his face to try and wake him.
“Ohh…” The black and white tom moaned feebly, opening his eyes to his mate’s concerned face. He lifted his paw with a soft whimper, showing where he had been cut. Tumble flared up angrily inside that someone would hurt Misto like that. He took him into his arms and held him gently, tending to his wounds and shattered nerves by gently grooming him. The rest of the cats were quiet, and then Misto looked up shyly and blushed. Tumble held him close and looked around at the faces of the others. A murmur of mixed emotions rose from the group. Misto buried his face in Tumble's fur, feeling as though he were about to cry. Tumble gently pet his back and rocked him.
"Well obviously something has to be done!" Jenny's voice rose above the hum. She stood with her arms crossed looking dissaprovingly at the hugging toms. "This isn't natural behavior... and now look at the violence it brought to the tribe!"
A louder murmur followed this comment.
"The poor dears need help..."
"What are you talking about?" Electra's irritated voice asked. "Can't anyone see that they're in love? Doesn't that matter?" She looked around at everone's shocked faces, then pushed her way over to where the question in couple were huddled. "You guys are fine by me. And if anyone says otherwise..."
"They'll have to answer to us." Plato spoke up, leaving Viccy where she lay passed out under the buffet.
Misto smiled shyly at Electra, who put her paw on his shoulder. Plato patted Tumble on the back and stood beside them. Slowly, Pouncival walked from the crowd and approached Tumble.
"Um.. er... I uh... just... wanted to say..."
Tumble looked at his friend whom he had known since kittenhood.
"I support you guys too." He finally said, smiling and offering his paw. Tumble shook it, then pulled him into a short hug. Pouncie hugged back, then stood beside his friend.
Jenny and some of the others started a protest murmur, but then Deuteronomy stood up from his spot atop the big tire and silenced them.
"We can all learn something from these young lovers. In the face of dissaproval and intolerance, they remain together. Who, among you, can deny them their love that is so strong? Is this not what love is about? Look at your own relationships, your own friendships. These two are not so very different from us. We should look to them with compassion and understanding, for it cannot be easy to be in love while everyone around you shuts you away."
The wise old cat looked over his tribe and nodded, then sat back down. Everyone was silent. Tumble hugged Misto close and waited. Gradually, everyone murmured softly and gathered around, each one offering a word or two of support. All except Viccy, who was still passed out in a drunken heap. Munkustrap eyed Plato stearnly and motioned for him to take the young queen home. Plato hung his head and went quietly to comply.
Viccy groaned as she was lifted, then murmured in drunken stupor, "Plato... I wanna have your kittens..."
Plato grimaced and carted her home.
Tumble and Misto smiled at each other.
"I love you, Misto..." Tumble whispered, gazing into his mate's eyes.
"I love you too, Tumble." Misto replied, a tear of happiness creeping into the corner of his eye.
The young lovers shared a sweet passionate kiss, the rest of the world a mere blur, nothing to interrupt the bliss of their perfect love.
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