|What You Leave Behind
Author: Delphicoracle-Cat PM
Follows "Mysterious Ways" and "During the Ball". Mistoffelees is pregnant again and he and Tugger are thrilled to add more kittens to their family... but these things don't always work out the way one plans. Warnings for mpreg and angsty subject matter.Rated: Fiction T - English - Drama/Hurt/Comfort - Mistoffelees/Quaxo & Rum Tum Tugger - Chapters: 2 - Words: 10,500 - Reviews: 16 - Favs: 18 - Follows: 11 - Updated: 07-17-12 - Published: 06-25-12 - Status: Complete - id: 8256068
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
What you Leave Behind
Here is another part of the Tugger/Misto saga, following "Mysterious Ways" and "During the Ball". This is not yet the 'big sequel' I have planned, but another interlude. The original characters are the same ones as in the first two fics—Jezebel, and the seven kittens.
A warning: this fic contains some serious themes and is heavy on the angst. You may feel like giving Misto (and Tugger) a hug after it's all said and done. :(
A big thank-you to CrazyIndigoChild for beta-reading.
Mistoffelees barely had time to turn and smile before he was engulfed in a flash of snow-white limbs. Squeals and purrs rang in his ears before he managed to pry the excited Victoria's arms away from around his chest.
"I just heard!" she giggled, loosening her grip just enough for her to beam a smile. "Misto, I'm so happy!"
With a delicate cough, Mistoffelees gently pried Victoria's arms from around him. He knew he would have to get used to such enthusiasm again, but it would be nice if he could breathe. "You heard already? I just found out for certain two hours ago!"
"Well, I heard it from Etcetera who heard it from Cassandra who heard it—oh, it doesn't matter! Isn't it grand? We're going to be pregnant at the same time!"
That last part wasn't a surprise; clearly Mistoffelees wasn't the only Jellicle who'd made a litter of kittens at the Jellicle Ball a week ago. Victoria had learned of her own pregnancy less than two days ago, and surely there wasn't a cat in London who didn't know by now. Plato, for his part, had been wandering about in a stunned-but-happy daze since he'd heard.
"It seems so," Mistoffelees said. "It should be amusing-"
"Our litters may even have the same birthdays!" Victoria beamed. She was all but bouncing about in place; though she may not have been able to literally glow, like Mistoffelees could with his magic, there really could be no doubt that the young queen was pregnant.
"Misto, I can even come to you for advice! You'll have to tell me everything—have you felt any sickness yet? I think I have, but Plato thinks I was just getting too wound up. Oh! Have you had any cravings? Because ever since this morning, I've been hungry for the biggest bowl of tuna with some kind of… well, I'm not even sure what yet!"
"I can't say I've felt any cravings yet…"
"Oh! What about…" Victoria dropped her voice, though it was still uncommonly loud. She made a gesture towards her chest. "Have you been sensitive here? Because the other day, Plato was touching me and-"
Mistoffelees coughed. "Er, that's probably normal, but I don't think we should-"
"And that's not to speak about the birth, oh Everlasting. How badly does it hurt? Does your body stay stretched out after? Because you had seven and you still look great after-"
"Victoria!" Mistoffelees said, blushing. "Maybe you should be asking Jenny or Jelly or Jezebel about this?"
The white queen sighed. "But it's more fun to talk to a friend about this! And… well, you're the only friend of mine who's had kittens already!"
Mistoffelees couldn't help it; at Victoria's earnest pout, and the reality of her words, he laughed.
"It's not funny," Victoria said.
"Don't you think so?" the tux smiled. "You're asking a tom for advice about being pregnant. That's not funny?"
"Well, it… I suppose so. I don't think of it as being strange, it just is."
And that, Mistoffelees mused, was a comforting thought. He'd long feared being thought of as some manner of freak-of-nature cat for being able to conceive kittens even though he was a tom—yes, even though everyone knew his magic was responsible (and that was exactly what had attracted Macavity's attention nearly a year ago, he thought darkly) If the idea of him being pregnant was not cause for strangeness anymore, it was a bit of a relief.
"Look, Victoria—you'll be just fine. If I managed to figure this out, then I'm sure you will too. Just keep calm and enjoy your kittens."
"Yes, yes of course," Victoria nodded, and before Mistoffelees could speak, she had him locked into another tight embrace. Who knew the lithe queen had limbs of steel? "Thank you Misto! This will be fun, won't it? I wonder which one of us will get bigger!"
Mistoffelees shook his head and once again struggled to pry himself free. "I'm sure we'll find out. Now if you'll excuse me—I have to go tell Tugger. He's alone with the kits right now."
"Oh yes!" Victoria cried, releasing him and practically dancing where she stood. "Go tell him the news! And the kits! Won't they be just thrilled to have little siblings?"
"I certainly hope so," Mistoffelees said.
That was something he hadn't considered: how the kits would feel about sharing the den with new tiny kittens. They would probably need to add another extension to the den. And they were going to need more blankets, and plan for someone to keep the kits distracted for the day when he would give birth… Already there was so much to think about.
"I'll see you later, Victoria."
"Go tell Tugger!" Victoria squealed, and moments later she was bounding away. Mistoffelees pitied whichever cat was going to cross her path next. He or she was about to get an excited earful about kittens and pregnancy, whether they wanted to hear it or not.
Shaking his head, Mistoffelees trekked back towards his den, already feeling exhausted from being prodded and poked and smelled and hugged and congratulated.
He'd suspected all along that he and Tugger had succeeded in making a new litter at the Jellicle Ball; it explained why his fur had been glowing on occasion, why he'd begun feeling a little ill here and there (though thankfully, no hacking up yet) and why, admittedly, his chest had been feeling rather sore. It helped to have the matter confirmed.
Overall, he had to admit he was feeling a lot better than during the first pregnancy. It helped that he knew exactly what to expect, and that he knew—no matter what—that the birth was going to take place here, in the junkyard, safe and surrounded by friends, and not ten paces outside Macavity's lair. He placed a hand on his belly and smiled; nothing was going to come threaten these kittens.
When he padded back inside the den, he heard Tugger gently whispering to the kits and then popping out from behind the thick curtain they used to close off the entrance to the kits' room. He motioned for quiet as he settled the curtain into place.
"They're down for the afternoon nap," Tugger said. He gave Mistoffelees a wide grin. "Well?"
"Well, what?" Mistoffelees cheekily answered. "I told you I already knew I was pregnant! All Jenny did was confirm it for me."
Tugger looked like he wanted to high-kick in joy. He glanced behind him, to make sure the kits were settled and not about to get up and traipse about, and left the curtain to gather his mate into a tight embrace.
"I knew it too," Tugger purred, kissing him lightly. "I was sure you were."
"Hm, Tugger," Mistoffelees chuckled. For the second time today, he'd been caught in a crushing embrace, though this one was much more welcome. "Kittens need air."
"Oh! Sorry." Tugger released him, but kept a paw protectively draped over his back, even as Mistoffelees took a few weary steps over to their sleeping area.
He laid himself out on the blankets with a soft groan, stifling a yawn. "I forgot how exhausting it was to be pregnant."
Smiling uncontrollably, Tugger sprawled out at Mistoffelees' side and gently rubbed his flat belly. "Can you feel anything yet?"
"Of course not. I'm only one week along."
"I wonder how many there are. Do you feel like there might be seven in there?"
"Tug," Mistoffelees said. "I can't feel anything yet. I suppose I feel a bit bloated, but I don't think that's what you wanted to know."
"I care about everything you feel," Tugger said dramatically, swooping down to plant a quick kiss on his mate's lips.
"Mmm. Even when I feel like hacking up?"
"Even then." Leaning in for another kiss, he suddenly stopped short. "You… you don't feel like hacking up now, do you?"
They kissed again. After a few moments of the tenderness, and after Tugger gently moved to partly cover Mistoffelees' body with his own, the kissing became a little less sweet and a little more aggressive. Before long, Mistoffelees curled one leg around Tugger's hips and began running his claws through the thick fur.
"I thought you were exhausted," Tugger said against his mate's lips, though he didn't make a move to stop the amorous exploration.
"I am," Mistoffelees said airily. "But I'll feel even worse once the new kittens are here, so we'd best take advantage while we can."
"You make it so hard to argue." Tugger ran one paw lovingly through Mistoffelees' head fur and dragged his lips lower, kissing neck and chest and nuzzling until he found a slightly swollen, sensitive nipple, giving it the gentlest of licks. That alone had Mistoffelees shuddering desperately.
"You look so beautiful," Tugger purred. "And you smell so good…"
"Da-ddy! Mandra's biting me!"
Mistoffelees groaned. Out of habit, Tugger rolled off him so no curious kittens could stumble onto what they were doing. He cocked his head to look at Tugger with tired, pleading eyes.
"Great," Tugger grumbled. "I suppose all the bedtime kit-wrangling is going to be up to me until the new litter comes."
"Poor Tugger," Mistoffelees said, yawning again, despite the arousal they'd started to build up. "Do I have to remind you who's going to be nursing the new kittens all day and all night after they're born?"
"Then there better not be another seven in there."
Tugger leaned down to give Mistoffelees one last kiss, before rising up to investigate a sudden whining shriek coming from the kits' room, which was soon followed by an indignant cry of "I'm telling!"
Mistoffelees rolled over on the blankets with a slight smile, draping a hand over his belly. By the time Tugger returned, he was fast asleep.
Three weeks into the pregnancy, they still hadn't told the kits about their upcoming siblings. Tugger insisted they should be told now, so they would have time to get used to the idea, while Mistoffelees preferred to take their time, while he thought of a gentle way to explain the whole process to them, debating whether or not they were too young for the "where do kittens come from" talk.
In any case, it wasn't as though they had had the time to calmly sit down and explain the situation to their seven kits; the little ones were getting to be not so little anymore, rambunctious and strong-willed and growing bigger with every passing day, though still prone to tantrums and misbehaviour.
Still prone, Tugger thought ruefully, to give him pounding headaches whenever they decided to be little monsters. They seemed to be in full form today, and it wasn't even suppertime yet. He'd been trying to sort through some blankets dropped off by Alonzo earlier that day, intended for the new kittens, but had barely made any headway into the task thanks to the rowdy kits.
Cyrano, Tourmaline and Mandragora were loudly tussling in their room; everything seemed all right, though Tugger kept an ear cocked in their direction in case a joyful scream turned into a pained one.
Josephine was still sobbing dramatically after being sent to the corner for biting one of her sisters, wailing a long monologue about lack of proper justice in this family. Her pitiful cries went unheeded by Cappella and Augusta, who were loudly playing at the other end of the den with a noisy toy one of them had found, one occasionally chasing the other when she caught the toy and refused to give it up.
In fact, the only quiet kitten at the moment was Aloysius, who was half-dozing on Mistoffelees' lap.
In contrast to the kittens, Mistoffelees had been rather quiet that day, leaning against a pillow and petting Aloysius with one hand, while his other hand rested on his belly. Though the pregnancy wasn't really showing yet, Tugger knew his mate's body well enough to notice the slight swell that was beginning to grow beneath the black-and-white fur.
Tugger suddenly huffed as a blur of black and gold crashed into his legs and scrambled to hide behind him, hissing. He sighed; Cappella, like the other kittens, was growing tall, but this kit in particular was also growing rather pudgy, and Tugger's slender legs afforded her little hiding area.
Augusta, pursuing her sister, skidded to a halt and stared up at her father with guilty eyes.
"Augusta, for the love of everything, if you don't leave your sister alone, I'm going to feed you to the Rumpus Cat!"
"She started it!" Augusta squealed.
"I don't care what—Cappella!" Tugger bellowed, as the kitten hiding behind his hip took a swipe at her sister. "If she's attacking you, then don't keep—Augusta!"
The two little queens continued to hiss and swipe at each other around Tugger's legs, while he struggled to keep them apart before someone got a claw in the eye.
In the cacophony of mews and spits, he almost missed Mistoffelees' soft voice. "… Tugger?"
"Hmm? What?" Tugger responded curtly. He finally settled for plucking up Augusta by her neck scruff, where she hung scrabbling valiantly but fruitlessly in the air. "What it is?"
He glanced at Mistoffelees; he was still leaning against the pillow, rubbing his belly and looking pale and tired. "Do you mind handling the kits on your own for a bit? I'm not feeling very well. I'm going to lie down."
It was all Tugger could do to resist huffing a frustrated sigh, especially as Augusta continued to kick and spit against his hold. He finally released her with a warning glare; to his relief, she toddled over to sit on a small pillow by herself, pouting as she picked up a knitted mouse to play with, her grudge with her sister long-forgotten.
"It's all right, go rest," Tugger said. His frustration turned to concern as Mistoffelees gently nudged Aloysius from his lap and rose to his feet, wavering slightly. "Are you all right?"
Mistoffelees nodded wordlessly, gingerly stepping through the door that separated their sleeping area from the rest of the den. Tugger half-expected to hear the sounds of hacking up, but there was nothing but silence. Hopefully all Mistoffelees needed was a nap.
A sudden shriek came from the kittens' sleeping area, though Tugger couldn't tell if it belonged to a tom or a queen. With a sigh, Tugger picked up the still-sleepy Aloysius, nudged Josephine out of her sobbing monologue, and made the others follow him into the sleeping area, briefly mourning his long-lost, carefree youth and days spent lounging in front of a fan club instead of controlling unruly kittens.
"All right kits," he said, slumping down on the mussed kitten blankets. "Your daddy needs to take a nap, so we're going to play a game. It's called 'Who can stay quiet the longest…'"
The game didn't last long, soon dissolving into a loud argument between Josephine and Mandragora over who truly was the quietest. Mercifully, after getting some supper into them, Tugger managed to get most of the kits quiet and settled down. Tourmaline, Cappella and Cyrano had fallen asleep in the main part of the den after much fussing, but Tugger wasn't ready to risk waking them to move them to their room.
Leaning his head back against the wall of the den, Cyrano snoring on his lap, Tugger closed his eyes and began to drift off.
"T… Tugger?" Mistoffelees weakly called, jarring Tugger from his near-doze. "Could you come here?"
Tugger sighed softly, forcing his eyes open. He was tired, and just wanted to enjoy some peace and quiet for a few moments. Still, he had to grant that Mistoffelees was probably having a bit of a difficult time; he remembered how ill his mate had gotten during the first pregnancy, and now he also had to keep caring for seven kits.
As he gently lifted the dozing Cyrano from his lap, Tugger shook his head with a rueful smile. Adding more kittens to their already-large family was going to be an interesting adventure. It had seemed like such a fun idea at the time; now, he worried it was going to cause more stress than they were ready for.
Cyrano gave a small start as Tugger's handling woke him up. He looked up at his father with large, sleepy eyes. "Daddy, no."
"Just a moment, kit," Tugger said, laying Cyrano down on a nearby blanket next to Cappella. She slept like a log and he knew Cyrano wouldn't wake her. "I've got to go take care of Misto for a bit."
"Is daddy sick?" Tourmaline squeaked. Tugger turned to see her sitting up, nervously clutching a corner of her yellow fleece blanket. "He's been acting funny."
"Just a little bit sick," Tugger soothed. He stroked Tourmaline's head as he rose up. "But I'm going to go make him better."
"Can I help?" the little queen asked.
"It's all right. Just stay there and be good, all right? You can help by being quiet and going to sleep."
Tourmaline nodded, while Cyrano sighed and flopped down on the blanket next to his sleeping sister.
Tugger made his way to their sleeping area, praying to the Everlasting Cat that he hadn't been called there because Mistoffelees had gotten sick on their bed, and pulled away the door that covered the entrance.
"Hey, Misto," he said softly.
No vomit, but the sight of the small tux made Tugger's ears flatten in worry. Mistoffelees was curled up tightly on his side, clutching a blanket around him as he shivered. At Tugger's approach, he looked up with wide, frightened eyes set in a pale face.
"Are you alone?" Mistoffelees whispered. He'd never sounded so weak and… terrified.
Tugger spared a quick glance to make sure none of the kittens had toddled behind him, and quickly closed the door. "Yeah, they're all going to sleep. Are you all right?"
Mistoffelees shook his head. "Some… something's really wrong."
His breath hitched audibly as he brought his white-furred paw out from under the blankets, holding it up for Tugger to see: the white fur was covered in blood.
"Everlasting!" Tugger cried, then lowered his voice before the kits heard. "What happened? Where's the blood coming from?"
"I-I think…" Mistoffelees began, swallowing hard. "I think it's the kittens."
"The kit-?" Realization struck like a punch in the gut. Tugger wasn't exactly sure what was happening, only that there was blood where there shouldn't be, and that it meant the kittens were in danger.
"I feel cold," Mistoffelees whispered.
Tugger hurriedly began to wrap Mistoffelees in the blanket. "Come on, you need to see Jenny right now."
"Tug, no!" Mistoffelees hoarsely said, clawing away the blanket. "We can't leave the kittens alone in the den. I… I don't want to upset them."
"Damn it! Misto, you need help, and-and…" Through his quaking, Tugger managed a breath. "All right, give me one minute. I promise I'll be back. All right? I'll be right back."
He got a shaky nod from Mistoffelees in reply and dashed out of their sleeping area. Tourmaline was still awake and sitting up, and as much as it twisted Tugger's heart to do so, he ignored her quiet pleas as he scrambled out of the den.
He desperately scanned the area, trying to find someone, anyone to—ah!
Not his first choice, but for an emergency, it would do. "Bombalurina!"
The red queen started at Tugger's urgent tone, rolling back a little guiltily from Pouncival. The two had probably been engaging in a little amorous 'discussion' partly hidden beneath the nearby junk pile, but at the moment, Tugger was too preoccupied to be amused about their activities.
"Bomba!" he called again. "Come here, now! I need you!"
Puzzled, Bombalurina got to her feet and hurried over, followed by a frowning Pouncival. The young tom was no doubt wondering what Tugger suddenly wanted with his mate. "Tug? What do you-"
Tugger quickly pulled her into the den, giving her no time to protest. "Just stay here, watch the kittens. And you," he said, pointing to Pouncival. "Go find Jenny, tell her I'm bringing Misto. It's an emergency."
Leaving the two bewildered Jellicles behind, Tugger dove back into their sleeping area. His heart twisted at the sight of Mistoffelees writhing on the blankets, on his back with one hand clutching his abdomen.
"Someone's with the kittens. I'm taking you to Jenny's."
"It really hurts," Mistoffelees whimpered.
"How does it hurt?" Tugger asked. He needed to keep talking to stay focused as he quickly wrapped the edges of the blanket around Mistoffelees so he wouldn't trip while carrying him.
Mistoffelees' hands shakily grasped Tugger's mane as he was lifted and carried out of their den past Bombalurina and the kittens, too quickly for them to see. To Tugger's mild relief, Pouncival was gone, hopefully off to prepare Jenny for their arrival.
"Like… cramps," Mistoffelees gasped.
"Not like birthing pains?" Fear made Tugger's fur stand on end; it was much, much too early for the kittens to come now.
"… I d-don't know. It does feel a lot like that." Tugger felt him shift around in his arms, tucking one arm into the blanket. He said, in a tiny voice, "I'm still bleeding."
"Everything will be all right," Tugger said. "I'm sure this is just… just one of those normal things about having kittens. Jenny will fix it, you'll see."
Mistoffelees moaned softly and laid his head against Tugger's shoulder, quiet as they continued to hurry across the junkyard.
Tugger was pleased that Pouncival had done as asked; when he closed in on Jenny's den, he spotted the old queen ready and waiting for him outside, Jezebel at her side.
"Inside, now," Jenny said tersely. "What's happening?"
"He's bleeding," Tugger supplied. "And… and he's in pain. He said it felt like birthing pains."
At hearing that, Jenny and Jezebel exchanged a look that did nothing for Tugger's nerves. It was Jezebel who spoke up, though she sounded weary. "All right, let's get him on the bed."
Tugger immediately obeyed. Mistoffelees seemed to be asleep or unconscious, breathing quickly, though he frowned and made a low, sad sound as he was placed on Jenny's bed and untangled from the blanket.
"Misto, darling?" Jenny said, laying a hand between his ears. "Are you still awake?"
"I feel dizzy…" the small tom murmured.
Jenny nodded to herself, nudging Mistoffelees' legs apart for a moment, then laying a gentle hand on his abdomen.
"Does it hurt? Right here?"
Mistoffelees grimaced, eyes closed, and nodded quickly. She pressed into his belly here and there as though feeling for something, apologizing softly when the prods drew pained hisses from Mistoffelees.
"All right, dear. Let's get you sorted out."
Tugger stood, uselessly clutching the bloodstained blanket and watching numbly as Jezebel rummaged about and brought a stack of clean cloths to the bed. It seemed to Tugger that they weren't in a frantic hurry to fix whatever was happening to Mistoffelees, but he decided that was a good sign. They weren't panicking. Maybe this was a normal pregnancy thing.
"Tugger," Jezebel said, grasping him by the arm and sternly leading him outside the sleeping area. "Let us work. We'll come get you when it's over."
Jezebel urged him outside a little harder. "Mistoffelees is all right. Jenny and I will need some space to work. All right?"
"All… all right," Tugger said. He let the blanket fall into a useless heap on the ground, slumping down to sit next to it. He wanted to be in there, but Tugger had to admit that he was no expert on pregnancy, and maybe it would be better if he stayed out the two queens' way.
He still stared at the entrance to Jenny's bedroom, anxiously waiting for any news. If they said Mistoffelees would be all right, then he had to trust them.
Everlasting Cat, let them be right.
(to be continued. Oh dear.)