|They just are
Author: p y n q u e PM
He's this, she's that, they are. The Jellicle tribe is breaking. **Strange drabbles on the kitties. Kind of like a chapter story now. Ish.**Rated: Fiction T - English - Drama/Angst - Chapters: 5 - Words: 8,655 - Reviews: 29 - Favs: 9 - Follows: 4 - Updated: 09-06-10 - Published: 08-27-10 - Status: Complete - id: 6276508
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
This is it. The final chapter. There isn't a lot of fancy spacing, underlining, bolding etc. in this chapter… that was done on purpose. And ignore Plato's, ahem, strange choice in best man. I had to do some bending. By the way: marriage = mating. In this at least.
I dedicate this to Raptoregg. Why? Because she's amazing. Oh, and Rawrrkitty, because… ah, she knows. THERE IS SUBLIMINAL MESSAGING IN HERE… Rawrr will get it… Victoria/Plato fans should get it… /ellipsis overuse
This really has nothing to do with the other chapters, I suppose, but hopefully you'll still like it. EXCUSE MY NON-EXISTENT KNOWLEDGE OF WEDDINGS. Even though I've been in, like, fifty.
Their lives, some just beginning, some ending, are simply done. Not over. Just done. They're tired, inflicted with unnamable emotions—indescribable, but there, and extremely painful. Especially for the young ones, who can't entirely grip this change in atmosphere.
And yet, Victoria and Plato have their wedding. It's only fitting—Victoria has lost a substantial amount of weight since Aphrodite's birth (and Jenny could only pretend she wasn't jealous), their friends were encouraging it, and Victoria and Plato were in love, as deeply as they could be these days. They waited and waited for a year after Aphrodite's birth to have the ceremony—and even now it seemed unfitting.
So Jemima walked down the aisle with Aphrodite in her arm (Alonzo couldn't help thinking about how gorgeous she looked in her pink dress and open-toed shoes) as the kitten gripped pink and white petals, sometimes dropping them, otherwise throwing them into her mouth and drooling, much to Jemima's dismay. But she kept walking, ignoring the saliva on her chest and the, what, three petals on the isle. Then the musical played (or was it already playing? No one was really sure, they were focusing on other things) and Victoria made her appearance.
She looked like an angel, Plato thought, as his bride walked down the isle awkwardly, arm-in-arm with her brother who came back merely for this occasion (not without apologizing, explaining, and being avoided for a few weeks). The reunion was uncomfortable and brought a blush to Victoria's cheeks, and one would have though she and Mistoffelees were a couple if it hadn't been for… well, knowing better.
Excitement bubbled in Plato's chest as Victoria came closer, in her big white dress that made her look nothing short of a princess. (Victoria was his princess, and she always would be.) Meanwhile, Mistoffelees's heart sank upon realizing he was giving his sister away, and that their father was dead. (He had heard the news—not from Victoria, or Deuteronomy, or even Tugger—who was dead too-but from a few "ladies of the night," ready for a night on the town while Mistoffelees was looking for a decent place to eat.)
And then there were tears (and even laughter), from family and friends and the bride and groom, and even the priest—Gus, of all cats—and suddenly it was time, you may now kiss the bride. And in a burst of enthusiasm, Victoria nearly attacked her now-husband with kisses and love. The sanctuary exploded with laughter and grudging happiness, the sun shining through the window and bathing the scene in warmth, and for a moment Old Deuteronomy believed it was the dearly departed smiling upon them (but in the back of his head, he was reminded that Grizabella hadn't been reborn).
Then the bride and groom rand down the isle, smiling, as their friends and family hooted and cheered and Aphrodite clapped with her tiny, uncoordinated paws. Victoria felt a wave of positive emotions wash over her, as she realized that maybe, just maybe, this sad spell was coming to an end.
The bride and the father—or rather, brother-of-the-bride do a chaste dance to their father's favorite song, and they both find themselves crying, and Etcetera is glad she used waterproof makeup on Victoria. Then the song is over, and the crying siblings part, basking in the memory of Bustopher Jones, the cat about town before continuing.
Then Plato wipes Victoria's tears with a gentle hand, and she's happy again. Bombalurina realizes she's jealous, grasping her champagne glass as memories of her and Pouncival's divorce (which was much easier than they told) and images of what her and the Tugger's marriage could have been like washed over her mind. But she gives it up, because she's past her prime, and her potential mate is dead, and white's not her color. (And to Bombalurina's dismay, her red fur isn't fading to pink; it's fading to gray, slowly but surely.)
Suddenly, a fast paced song plays, and the bridesmaids run on to the scene, Aphrodite in Etcetera's arms (and Mistoffelees can't help but think how pretty she's gotten). The sadness is gone, the revelations are over, and Victoria and Plato's new life together has begun. Etcetera and Aphrodite dance a strange little tango, the latter erupting with kitten-giggles.
Exotica and Cassandra stand on the sidelines in a silent showdown, cousin on cousin. Then Cassandra's red lips spread into a smile, and the two shake hands. They know they'll never see each other after this, and they want to separate on a light note.
Munkustrap shakes his head, chuckling, as Demeter and Bombalurina attempt to learn some strange dance from Tumblebrutus and Plato, but the two queens simply can't keep up and stumble off the dance floor, their slightly drunken laughter tinkling through the place. The gold queen plopped herself in a white chair next to her mate, Munkustrap pulling it out from behind the table just in time.
"That, my love," Demeter began, tracing crooked circles on the table. "Was fun. You need to get out there, babe." The drunken queen finished, using too much emphasis on random words. Munkustrap would have been laughing if he didn't know how Demeter got when she was drunk. She promised she wouldn't go to the bar with Bombalurina, and Munkustrap pretended to hold her to it—but then the red queen made a bet, and Demeter was a lot more competitive than she let off. There was no way she would back down, and she didn't, so now she was running on red wine.
Electra felt kind of stupid. Standing on the sidelines in a pink dress, just like the other bridesmaids, with a half empty glass of apple cider in her hand and a raspberry in her mouth. She didn't really know why there had been raspberries in the drink, but it tasted good and it wasn't alcoholic. (It seemed weird; none of the bridesmaids, the bride herself, the groom, and three of the groomsmen couldn't drink.) The tortoiseshell looked down at her white shoes with disdain. The other girls were wearing strappy, open-toed shoes—even Aphrodite was. It annoyed Electra how easily she found things that made her sad, or feel inadequate.
From the other side of the room, Tumblebrutus, Admetus, Pouncival, Plato (who was pulled away from Victoria by Admetus who decided he wanted to dance), and Alonzo stood in a little man-huddle, talking about manly things, while Tumblebrutus and Pouncival attempted to jack Alonzo's wine (white, thank you). And then a certain pretty queen catches Pouncival's eye—and he can't just leave her there, man, the guys reason, Plato and Admetus pushing him towards her despite his protests.
Then they leave him there on the side of the dance floor, making awkward eye contact with Electra. And then the boys are focusing on them, and so are Jemima, Etcetera, and Victoria. The three queens can't help but giggle as Pouncival makes his way over to their friend, muttering things they can't here. Electra is blushing, and smiling, and Pouncival pulls her on to the dance floor just in time for the chicken dance.
The night is over.
But there's one last thing the bride and groom have to do. They forgot about it, in the heat of the moment, but now it's time. Cats are putting on their coats and eating their last bites of cake, then gather around a chair, waiting.
Victoria, who toughed it out and danced in her wedding dress all night, plops into the chair with a happy and slightly mischievous expression. Plato, on the other hand, is blushing, and his hands are sweating (so he wipes them on his pants). Victoria hikes her dress up, showing her fancy white tennis shoes (Etcetera will forever scold her for that, but Victoria will simply say you didn't expect me to dance in heels all night, did you?) and everyone hoots, or "halla-hallas," or some other form of… noise. The white queen can help but giggle as Plato sticks his head up her dress and attempts to pull off the frilly garter.
It's almost awkward how long it takes, seeing as Tumblebrutus decided to tie Plato's wrists together, and Bombalurina can't help but say, "You havin' fun down there?" Victoria blushes and giggles, and can feel Plato's face heat up against her leg. And finally, the band is at Victoria's ankle—but Tumblebrutus refuses to untie Plato's hands, and the tom struggles to pull the garter over Victoria's tennis shoes.
And when he does, Plato stands up triumphantly, the fancy frilly thing hanging out of his mouth. Everyone cheers, a few demeaning remarks are made, and Jemima (Isn't she beautiful, Munkustrap? Yes she is, Demeter, yes she is.) tiptoes on to the scene to untie his wrists, earning an annoyed groan from her ex, Tumblebrutus. She merely sticks her tongue out at him, before scampering over to her giggling friends.
Plato flings the garter into a sea of expectant toms (well, more like five expectant toms) and it lands on the head of Admetus, who quickly thrusts it into Alonzo's chest. The spotted tom simply laughs, and holds the garter above his head like a trophy.
And then it's Victoria's turn to throw stuff at people. The queens gather (even the mated ones, they couldn't help but join the fun) behind her, some taking predator-like stances. Yelling something like "woo," Victoria tosses the white and pink bouquet into the throng of queens, and it hits Jemima square in the face. Etcetera pushes it to the calico's chest, just in case she tries to pull a fast one like Admetus.
Alonzo and Jemima share a coy glance; the latter's face a bright shade of pink. It's amazingly clichéd, and monumentally embarrassing, but Jemima and Alonzo wouldn't have had it any other way.
His time has come.
The joy and festiveness of Victoria and Plato's joining dies down, and reality sets back in. The good things, the bad things. Aphrodite takes her first steps without holding on to a table or something else, the anniversary of Bustopher Jones's death arrives (and Mistoffelees decides to stay), Electra and Pouncival become a couple, and Alonzo's proposal to Jemima is imminent—
But above all, Deuteronomy's death quickly approaches looms above everyone's head. He lays in a hospital bed, eyes closed, with Munkustrap's strong paws around his. The other cats sit in the lobby anxiously, waiting to hear the verdict from Munkustrap. No one knew how sick Old Deuteronomy was, except for the cat himself and his doctor. He refused chemotherapy, and the cancer spread—and now it was his time.
The ancient tom slowly turns his head to his eldest son, and pretended there weren't tears streaming down the silver tabby's face. Until now, when it was too late, Old Deuteronomy hadn't realized he'd be leaving his son alone. His youngest son was dead, because of an STD. His eldest son was dead through murder (both Mungojerrie and Rumpelteazer were in jail) and… well, it was just the two of them, Deut and Munkustrap. And in moments, minutes, hours, it would simply be Munkustrap.
"Why didn't you tell us?" Munkustrap sobbed. Deuteronomy simply smiled; it was strange seeing his son cry.
"I didn't want to worry anyone, son."
"You're fucking worrying us now, dad!"
"Munkustrap…" He didn't say any more, neither did. Munkustrap squeezed his father's hand, teeth clenched, eyes burning. This wasn't supposed to happen. Old Deuteronomy was supposed to live forever—forever until now.
"I love you, son," Deuteronomy whispered, resting a shaky hand on his son's cheek.
"I love you too, dad."
"Good bye, Munkustrap."
And then he was alone.
They'll get over it someday.
Just not today.
Munkustrap entered the lobby, completely composed. The cats gathered around him, asking questions, just too many questions, and it was too much for him.
The silver tabby began to bawl, and everyone understood. It was weird, seeing their "fearless" leader lose control in such a way. Demeter stepped forward, took her mate in her arms. He felt like a kitten, shaking and whimpering like that. Demeter ignored how her shoulder was getting wet and that she should have put her cardigan back on. That was irrelevant.
The words came out in a painful whisper. Munkustrap's throat felt raw, his eyes ached. Though everyone understood, actually hearing made the cats go silent—including non-Jellicles, who found themselves caught in this.
"Munkustrap, baby," Demeter began, taking her mate by the shoulders so she could see him. And once she did, she regretted it—pained blue eyes rimmed with red and pink, a runny nose, and furrowed brows. His face was the picture of perfection—perfect pain. Despair. Demeter and Jemima were all he had now, and Jemima wasn't even really his.
"Go home," Bombalurina said to the other cats, stepping toward her sister and brother-in-law. Jemima, who had been sitting next to Alonzo, their paws entwined, quickly stood up and ran to her parents, embracing her in a hug as best she could (she was never going to get any taller).
And Jellylorum holds Gus tightly, because he's alone too, and he knows it, he just won't let it show.
They have to say good-bye.
Six photographs sit on a table with candles, flowers, and envelopes.
Grizabella. Macavity (even if he was a criminal, at some point he was a Jellicle). The Rum Tum Tugger, Bustopher Jones, Coricopat, and now Old Deuteronomy.
The service was somber, stained with black. Tears fell silently, happy words were given. It was like any other ceremony, but sadder.
And no one would be able to forget the noise Munkustrap made as they lowered Deuteronomy into the ground.
The pain is unbearable and the future is dull, but still the Jellicles move on. Pleasant memories of what was ring through everyone's mind, like haunting church bells. The voices of the dearly departed float through the Yard like the wind.
Things will never be the same for this broken tribe, but the Jellicles can pretend they will.
… So that's the end. It doesn't feel like it.
Should I do a sequel? A normally written thing about life after… me? Actually, I think I will.
Implied pairings: Electra/Pounce, Tugger/Bomba, Cassandra/Munkustrap, Munkustrap/Demeter, Etcetera/Mistoffelees, One-sided Victoria/Mistoffelees, Victoria/Plato, Alonzo/Jemima, One-sided Demeter/Macavity, One-sided (?) Mungojerrie/Rumpelteazer… I think that's it.
Disappearances: Mistoffelees (returned), Mungojerrie (jailed), Rumpelteazer—kinda (jailed), Exotica (returned… but for how long? Dun dun dun)
Deaths: Bustopher Jones, The Rum Tum Tugger, Macavity, Coricopat, Grizabella (no rebirth = death), Old Deuteronomy
I thought you all should know that. If you want me to clear things up (why did Coricopat commit suicide? Will I actually do anything with Etcy/Misto? What were Tugger's thoughts before he died? Will Jemima become the next leader of the tribe?) TELL.
Ciao for now… I'm going to work on Into the Night.