A/N: Hey everyone, please enjoy this insanity that's sprung from my brain. That's all!
It was a glorious day. The sun was shining, the birds had been singing (until breakfast time rolled around) and there wasn't a single thing to do. Perfect day for lounging and relaxing.
Electra and Etcetera settled in amongst the pile of cushions they had gathered to engage in one of their favorite activities: cat watching and gossip. Unfortunately the only interesting cat that had wandered by was Munkustrap, who had bid them a quick good morning before hurrying off to do whatever important things he normally did. This left the queens to idly groom themselves and begrudgingly enjoy the peaceful silence of the morning.
Of course, in a junkyard full of Jellicles, this silence was not to last for long.
"Cettie, Electra, you have to see this. You're not going to believe what's going on over there." Rumpleteazer interrupted the two queens, grabbing them by their shoulders and pulling them through a hastily made path in the junkyard.
"Wait Teazer, where are we going?" Electra tried to pull away but the queen's grip was too strong.
"Look, look!" She hauled them forward, forcing them to crouch down with her behind an overturned refrigerator.
They were peering out into a rather secluded part of the junkyard, one that had become even more secluded with the addition of several carefully arranged piles of junk that made further shielded the area from prying eyes. In the middle of the clearing was a familiar tom, who was stretching his long, silver limbs in the sunlight, looking rather antsy about something.
It was Munkustrap, his back to the hidden queens, attention focused on another cat that had decided to join him.
"Is that Alonzo?" Etcetera whispered loudly. Electra and Rumpleteazer clapped their paws over her mouth.
"Shh, shh." Teazer shushed her. "Just watch."
The silver tabby didn't so much as flick an ear in their direction, attention completely on the distinctive black and white cat in front of him. Alonzo was sauntering towards him, hips swaying from side to side in a deliberately sensual rhythm. It was no secret that Alonzo was a flirt (of course, no one was as large of a flirt at the Rum Tum Tugger) and he had been frequently seen rubbing up against many a queen during past Jellicle Balls. These were purely physical displays of affection, trading scents with the queens he liked, but never advancing to a more intimate relationship with any of them.
Never had he been caught turning his attentions towards the toms, however, and certainly not towards Munkustrap of all cats. The Jellicle Protector rarely gave any indication of wanting physical affections of his own, always being preoccupied with keeping the tribe safe and running the yearly ball. There were rumors of a relationship between him and Demeter, mainly fueled by the fact that she was the only queen he had been frequently seen with for any given length of time. Of course, the same amount of time had been spent with Alonzo as well, although no one questioned it since Alonzo was Munkustrap's right hand cat.
Alonzo was certainly not wasting time. To the girl's simultaneous scandal and delight the tom dragged his body across Munkustrap's, flicking his tail under the protector's nose as he passed.
"Been a while." Alonzo murmured, looking up at Munkustrap with a sly smile.
"Too long." Munkustrap's voice was low, taking on a sensual edge that none of the queens had ever heard before. He trailed a paw over Alonzo's chest, nuzzling the space between his neck and shoulder. They fit together so seamlessly, their touches so in sync, that there was no doubt that they had done this before.
"Thought it would take me ages to get you alone." Alonzo turned around and rubbed his head against Munkustrap's neck very slowly and very deliberately.
"Did he just scent him?" It was Electra's turn to whisper. "Like a mate?"
"They ain't exactly exchanging a simple, friendly how do you do." Teazer giggled.
"We shouldn't be watching this." Electra said.
"You wouldn't believe it if I just told you without proof."
"No one's ever going to believe this." Etcetera sounded way too excited. "Munkustrap and Alonzo. Together. Mates."
It would have been a romantic moment for the two toms if they didn't have the peanut gallery watching them in secret. Munkustrap held Alonzo to him, breathing in his scent deeply. He murmured something in his lover's ear. Alonzo smiled, face so loving and happy that it stopped the queen's nervous giggling. They swayed together for a moment, lost in their happiness, totally oblivious to the world around them.
Then Alonzo bent over and twitched his tail, displaying himself before Munkustrap, giving the other tom a look over his shoulder that clearly stated what he wanted. The silver tabby let out a deep, low groan and he advanced on the other cat, roughly taking the black and white's hips and-
"Aaaaaand we're leaving." Electra pulled the other two queens away with her before things could possibly get more heated. In a way she thought of Munkustrap as an older brother of sorts, and seeing him do- that- with Alonzo was more than enough to scar her for life.
"Aww, come on." Etcetera pouted once they were far away on the other side of the junkyard.
"Didn't think Munk had it in him." Teazer let out a low whistle. "If he looked at me like that while grabbing my-"
"Don't need the details, thank you!" Electra said loudly.
"But with Alonzo, of all cats!" Etcetera squealed. "And it's so obvious this isn't their first- their first secret rendezvous."
"Believe me, it isn't. Though this is the first time I've seen them really have a go at-" Teazer asked.
"Teazer! Please!" Electra groaned. "I don't need the mental images."
"Oh come on, Electra, this is huge." Etcetera said excitedly. "Munk has never had a mate in public, and now we know why! I wonder how long they've been together? And why is it a secret?"
"It's not going to be a secret for long if you keep shouting about it." Teazer playfully nudged her.
"Ooo, we have to keep it a secret! It's so much more romantic that way." Etcetera sighed.
"Forget romance, Munk'll kill us if he finds out what we saw." Electra muttered.
"Aw, Munk'll be occupied for a while. We've got Lonz to thank for that. We scarpered before he even knew he had an audience." Teazer grinned.
The three sat in gleeful (or, in Electra's case, mortified) semi silence for a while, trying to come to terms with what they saw. And what they were going to do about it.
"And what are you three ladies up to?" Just to add to the absurdity of it all, the Rum Tum Tugger made a sudden appearance.
All three queens broke into an uncontrollable giggle fit. The resident curious cat draped himself over the nearest flat surface and waited. Surely they weren't laughing at him. Surely.
"Nothing." Teazer said in a singsong voice, biting her lip to keep from laughing again.
"Yeah, and I'm the Everlasting Cat." Tugger drawled. "I can see that something's got you three all riled up."
"Oh, it's not us that's riled." Etcetera blurted out, covering her mouth with a gasp.
"See, now you have to tell me. I'm not leaving until you do." Tugger, seeing a crack in their defenses, sidled up to Etcetera with a purr. "Etcetera, darling, you don't need to keep secrets from me."
"Tugger, stop, I can't!" The queen giggled, holding on to Tugger's leg to anchor her. "Munk'll-"
"So it has to do with Munk, eh? And what has my dear brother done to get you all in a fit?"
"We haven't done anything." Electra said darkly. "It's all Teazer's fault anyways."
"There's no way I could keep news like that to myself." Teazer protested.
Tugger looked like he was going to burst. "What did Munk do?" He turned on Rumpleteazer. "You can't just keep news regarding my brother from me. What if it's something I need to do something about?"
"Oh, I don't think you'll want to do anything about this one." Teazer stuck out her tongue. "Let's just say there's already enough cats involved."
"Oh, oh, look, there he is!" Etcetera shook Electra's arm, unable to contain herself.
Munkustrap made his appearance in the main area of the junkyard, taking up his usual place on the tire to keep watch. There wasn't a hair out of place, not a single indication that he had been up to anything unusual. He noticed the three queens looking at him and gave a little wave. Immediately they burst into giggles, waving back and blushing furiously. The tabby raised an eyebrow but did not question their odd reaction. He did, however, raise the other one when the queens caught sight of Alonzo slinking into the junkyard and collapsed into a pile of laughter.
"Shutupshutupshutup he'll knoooooow." Rumpleteazer whispered helplessly as Etcetera tried to stuff her own tail into her mouth to keep quiet. Electra settled for turning several shades of red and covering her eyes.
Tugger looked at the queens, then at his brother, then to Alonzo. He was silent for a long moment. A full minute passed. Then he opened his mouth, closed it, then stood.
"I… I need to go." The usual smirk was nowhere to be found on his face. Instead he looked uncharacteristically thoughtful. Quickly he made his exit.
"Everything alright?" Alonzo asked as he approached the queens, lounging down in the shade near them and giving the departing Tugger a curious look. Despite his previous vigorous scenting session he just had with Munkustrap he smelled nothing like the silver tabby. So far as the queens could tell he had done a thorough job of covering up his previous exertions.
"Oh, oh noooo. Not at all." Etcetera giggled. "I mean, I mean, yes, we're all fine. No trouble at all! How- how- how are you?"
"Can't complain." He seemed to be vaguely uncomfortable under their combined stares.
"I bet you can't!" Teazer screamed, holding on to Etcetera for dear life.
Alonzo looked visibly disturbed. He turned to the only queen not losing her mind. "Electra, are they okay?"
The queen vigorously nodded her head. "Oh, yes. Absolutely fine. Just normal queen stuff."
"Okay…." He flicked his tail, shifting his weight to settle onto one hip with a small wince. It was a small action, but, in the context of just what kind of position he had been in before, it was a very telling movement.
Etcetera let out a little scream and had to throw herself face first into Teazer's shoulder. The red tabby let out a very unladylike cackle.
"What? What's wrong?" Alonzo frowned. "Something's going on. Is it something I said? Did I do something?"
"Nothing! I swear!" Electra shrieked loud enough to get Munkustrap's attention. The silver tabby slowly got down from the tire and started to meander over.
"Oh, I can't handle this right now!" Teazer vacated the premises in the blink of an eye. Etcetera ran off with her, leaving poor Electra alone with the last two toms she wanted to be stuck with.
"Hello, Electra. Everything going alright over here?" Munkustrap asked gently, voice tinged only with light concern. There was none of the deep, lusty growls of before.
Just the thought of what he sounded like earlier made her blush. Alonzo didn't move from his spot but his eyes snapped to Munkustrap, trailing over the protector with renewed interest. This did not go unnoticed by the uncomfortable queen.
"It's fine!" She squeaked. "Just Teazer and Cettie acting w-weird!"
"If there's something wrong you can tell me." Munkustrap sat down next to her so that she was boxed in between the two toms.
"Do I need to leave?" Alonzo asked, sounding like he'd rather not. Although he was out of physical touching distance from Munkustrap his body language spoke volumes. Volumes that Electra desperately did not want to read.
"N-no." Electra stood, tripping over her own feet. Munkustrap reached out to catch her but she did an impressive mid air twist and righted herself. She ran away as if Macavity himself were after her, leaving the two toms very confused.
Over the next few days all the three queens could think about was what they saw. Any time Munkustrap so much as breathed in Alonzo's direction they fell into a fit of giggles, a fact that did not go unnoticed by either tom. A positive side effect was how… different Munkustrap was when Alonzo was around. It wasn't obvious to anyone that didn't know about his relationship but through this new perspective it seemed to be clear as day.
Every time the black and white cat was in his vicinity he seemed to become more relaxed, more self assured. He didn't become an entirely different cat but always seemed to have a smile lingering around his face. Even after Alonzo left he retained a sort of cheerful demeanor that spread from him like a ray of sunshine.
Alonzo was still his usual, flirty self, but it was apparent that he preferred to spend most of his free time near Munkustrap. To a casual observer it seemed that the two were simply working together and close friends. If only they knew….
Once Tugger figured it out he made it his mission to get a confession from one of the cats themselves. Preferably from Munkustrap, but his brother was a tough one to crack. The fact that he kept their relationship a secret wasn't as much a surprise as simply who he was in a relationship with. It did explain why Alonzo was one of the only young toms in the junkyard who didn't seem to be enamored with Tugger's antics. While he couldn't understand what the black and white cat saw in his brother, he did have to admit that they seemed good for each other. He hadn't seen Munk this happy in… well, ever.
Alonzo would be easier to break. Unlike Munkustrap he didn't know all of Tugger's tricks. First and foremost, however, Tugger needed to know what exactly it was the queens saw. For science. And possible blackmail. Overall he needed to know what he was working with. Then he could come up with a plan.
"Hey, Teazer, can we talk a moment?" Tugger sauntered up to the queen, who was sunbathing with Jemima and Bombalurina on top of an abandoned car.
"What you want her for?" Mungojerrie piped up from inside the broken down vehicle, sticking his head out through the open window.
"Just a quick conversation, that's all. Concerning things."
Teazer immediately started to giggle. "I bet you do want to talk. Sure, just a sec."
Both Bombalurina and Jemimia stared as Teazer slid down from the car. Mungojerrie started to say something but was quickly shushed.
"I'll bring her back in one piece, I promise." Tugger said with a wink. It did nothing to help Jerrie's mood.
The two stepped away to a more private corner of the junkyard, both looking around in paranoia before huddling together in the shadow of an abandoned dishwasher.
"Tell me everything you know about Munkustrap and Alonzo." Tugger said in a loud whisper.
Teazer grinned. "So you figured it out."
"I think I know what's going on but I want details."
"Dead sure. I've never seen my brother show interest in anyone, and suddenly it's Alonzo? I need to know why."
"Alrighty, but don't say I didn't warn you." Teazer proceeded to describe what she and the other two queens saw in great detail, sparing no expense. Tugger greatly regretted asking for everything.
"And then, Lonz bent over and Munk-" She said altogether too loudly.
"Okay, okay, I've heard enough." Tugger placed his paw over Teazer's mouth as she started to elaborate on just what kind of position the two toms had been in. "I think I need to go spray myself with a hose or something to wash off the mental images."
"You asked. Can't help it if your brother likes to-"
"Enough!" Tugger pawed at his ears. "And never again do I want to hear the words 'Munkustrap', 'Alonzo' and 'bent over' in the same sentence." He shuddered.
"So whatcha gonna do about this newfound knowledge of yours?" Teazer asked curiously.
"I'm going to get a confession from at least one of them. And I want to know why in the Everlasting Cat's name they're keeping this secret. There's gotta be a good reason. And I need to know it."
Teazer let out a little squeal in excitement. "Ooo! I want to help! It was me who discovered them after all."
"Yeah, speaking of that, how did you of all cats find out about those two?"
"Oh, you know." Teazer waved a paw vaguely in the air. "Jerrie and I were looking for new places in the junkyard to store some… some stuff we… found…. And I noticed that Munk was acting all smiley and whatnot so I had to follow him to see what put him in such a good mood- you know, in case he's feeling cranky one day and no certain cat in particular needs to bug him about something they may or may not have done and we need him to be all smiley again- and then when I saw just who he was being all smiley about I had to watch."
"How long have you been watching them?" Even Tugger, the least prudish of cats in the junkyard, had to raise a brow at the thought of Teazer being a peeping tom. Or peeping queen. Whatever it was.
"Oh! No, no, it's not like that. They weren't doing anything nearly that, uh, physical when I first caught them. Munk and Lonz were just cuddlin' and chattin'. Very cute. Very wholesome. It's when I brought Cettie and Electra into the mix was when the two decided to, er, 'put on a show' as it were."
"That explains why Electra has suddenly turned into a statue every time a cat so much as looks in her direction." Tugger mused. "Thought she was more open to that kinda thing."
"Yeah, well, maybe on her own terms, but not when her older brother figure starts getting all down to business with his mate."
"Older brother? Does she- does she see me like that too?" Tugger felt his stomach turn at the thought of all the times he wiggled his hips in her face during his 'performances'. She always seemed open to the flirting (along with the majority of the junkyard), but if she thought of him as a brother….
"Oh no Tug! Not at all!" Teazer giggled. "You're free to keep pelvic thrusting in all of our faces."
"Right." He coughed. "So. We need to come up with a plan."
"We have to get Cettie in on this too, or else she'll have my hide."
"If we can keep her quiet it won't hurt to have her be on the lookout." Tugger said.
"Lookout for what?" A very familiar, unwanted presence made itself known. Alonzo oozed out from whatever piece of broken furniture he had been napping on, looking like he had just woken up.
Teazer turned a very interesting shade of pink and started to giggle. Tugger clamped his paw over her mouth.
"Nothing that concerns you. Shoo." The maine coon said. It had the opposite effect he wanted. The black and white cat settled himself down in front of Tugger, giving him a pointed look.
"Right. Try something else." This wasn't good. Alonzo was a perceptive cat and could very well pick up on just why Tugger and Teazer were suddenly buddies. And that just wouldn't do.
"If you have to know, we're… we were talking about…." Tugger's mind spun, trying to think of any excuse, anything that would explain why they were acting so suspicious. "Munk's birthday."
"What?" Both Alonzo and Rumpleteazer asked, faces perfect mirrors of confusion.
"Yeah. Munk's birthday. Want to keep it a secret though."
"Really? I'd love to help." Alonzo was suddenly all ears. Tugger mentally groaned.
"Well, Lonz, we're just in the initial planning stages. Got to have several meetings to plan it out. Wanna do it right, since it's Munk and all." Teazer quickly stepped in. "And, seeing as you're Munk's right hand cat, we were thinking that you would be the best to, ah, keep an eye out for Munk and keep him away from our secret meetings. Since you know his schedule and all."
Tugger watched the exchange, trying not to let his rising panic show through his normally cool exterior. The queen's words were carefully turned over in Alonzo's brain. Then, to their relief, he nodded.
"Makes sense. I can tell you that this afternoon Munk will be busy. For about and hour or so. He's… got an important meeting." His face was a smooth mask of calculated innocence. Both cats were mildly disturbed and impressed. What other secrets did Alonzo keep hidden behind that impenetrable veneer of deceit?
"Well, then I guess we'll have another meeting this afternoon. Thanks for the tip." Tugger coughed.
"You're a real treat, Lonz, you know?" Teazer laughed, slapping the tom on the shoulder.
"Sure. You know, I'm going to go now, make sure that Munk stays occupied while you two make plans. Keep me informed." Alonzo left in his usual slinky way, albiet more in a hurry thanks to Teazer's unnerving laughter.
"Thought he'd never leave." Tugger muttered. "We're going to have to find somewhere more private to talk after this."
"Ooo, that'll fuel the gossip for a while." Teazer giggled. "Not that I mind. Keeps Jerrie on his toes."
"We won't have to worry about that for long, not if we can get solid proof that dear old Munkustrap has been involved in a secret love affair with stuffy Alonzo." Tugger said. "It'll be all the junkyard will talk about."
"You sure you can handle not being in the spotlight?"
"Well, it won't last forever. And I think seeing the look on Munk's face when Jenny and Jelly try to sit down and give him and Lonz the 'responsible mate practices' talk with be worth it."
"You, sir, are devious. And I love it. But how are are gonna get proof? As much as I like a good show, I'm not keen on dragging half the junkyard to watch Munk and Lonz have their, ah, 'tender moments'."
"No, no, that's not what I'm thinking." Tugger said quickly, both he and Teazer shuddering at the thought. "I'm thinking that maybe if we snoop around Munk and Lonz's dens we might be able to uncover something. Like, a secret diary or love notes or something sappy like that. Seems right up Munk's alley. I swear he was born an adult. And then if we have proof we can show it to either him or Lonz and then they'll have to spill."
"I can sneak in and out, no problem. But it would be easier with a distraction to guarantee that they wouldn't accidentally sneak up on us, or, Everlasting Cat forbid, barge in ready for a roll in the hay-"
"And that's why that won't happen. I have the perfect distraction." Tugger interrupted her, pointing across the junkyard.
From their current hidden spot they could see the unmistakable figure of Tumblebrutus, his patched face screwed up in concentration as he fiddled with something hidden in the pile of junk. While still a kitten, he had experienced quite a growth spurt over the past month and his long legs were splayed in uncomfortable looking directions as he hunched over his current focus. Such concentration from the kitten was usually something that had the adults worried. What was more worrying was that his brother, Pouncival, was nowhere in sight, and where there was one kitten the other was usually not that far behind.
None of the other cats had noticed him yet, and Tugger hurried over to keep it that way, Teazer quickly following behind him. Tumble's ears flicked towards them and he spun around, positioning his lanky body in between them and whatever was going on in the junk behind him.
"Why, if it isn't the Rum Tum Tugger and- and Rumpleteazer! Hello!" Tumble squeaked loudly, eyes nervously darting between the two. "Whatever could you be possibly doing here in this incredibly boring part of the yard on such a- such a splendid day?"
"Hey, Tumble. Whatcha got going on over there?" Teazer asked, leaning to the side to see what he was trying to hide.
"N-nothing! Just stretching my legs!" Poor Tumble was no match for the duo: Tugger simply grabbed him by his shoulders and steered him to the side, the smaller cat unable to do much against the large maine coon.
Tumble had been sitting in front of an overturned barrel, which, from Tugger and Teazer's point of view, seemed rather ordinary. Upon closer inspection, however, the sounds emanating from it were anything but.
"Didja find something?" Pouncival's unmistakable voice whined from inside, sounding oddly tinny. "I don't wanna die like this!"
"What in the… Pounce?" Tugger crouched down to get a better look. Something vaguely Pouncival shaped shuffled about, but there was something wrong with his head. It looked awfully… metallic.
"Aw, Pouncey, did you get your head stuck in a can again?" Teazer cooed as Tugger grabbed the kitten by the foot and dragged him out into the sun. There was indeed a discarded soup can securely fastened around Pouncival's head. Luckily there was a hole rusted in the bottom so he could breathe.
"He thought there was clam chowder left in the bottom." Tumble said, ears drooping. "I told him not to, but he insisted. I've been trying to get it off him so we don't have to go back to Jenny's. Again. She'll have my hide as well as his."
"How often does this happen?" Tugger couldn't help but ask, lightly stepping on Pounce's tail to keep him from running headlong into everything in sight.
"About once a week." Tumble admitted.
"Nuh uh!" Pounce waved his arms about, nearly giving Tugger a black eye. His voice echoed through the can. "He lies! Who are you talking to? Is it Jenny? Please tell me it's not Jenny!"
"We've gotta get it offa him before we can use him, Tugger." Teazer said, grabbing the can and giving it a good pull. Predictably it did not come off.
"Use him?" Tumble asked, giving them a suspicious look. "What do you want with him?"
"Actually, we were going to use both of you, but we need him to be able to see." Tugger tapped the top of the can. Pouncival went still, trying to angle his head so he could see out the hole.
"Huh? Whozzat? Who's there? Tumble?"
"It's me, furball. Sit still so we can get you out." Tugger said into the can.
"Oh, hi Tugger." Pouncival sat heavily on the ground, shoulders slumped. "This is great. Now you'll never take me seriously."
"Happens to the best of us, kiddo. But don't worry, I've got a plan."
"You do?" Tumble asked, looking hopeful.
"Jenny'll get him out." Tugger replied, picking Pounce up and slinging him over a shoulder. "It's the fastest option."
"No! No way!" Both kittens wildly protested. Pounce immediately began to flail, tail slapping Tugger in the face and legs kicking him in the ribs.
"Fine, fine! Stop!" Tugger all but threw Pounce to the ground, placing his hands on his hips and giving the kittens a stern look. "But I need both of you to be at the top of your game, which means that that-" He gestured to the can, "- needs to come off. How did Jenny do it last time?"
"She used some sort of slippery stuff from a jar. Smelled awful but worked great." Tumble said, grabbing his brother's shoulders and turning him around to face everyone else. "Before that she used butter."
"Hmm. Neither are the kinds of things I would normally keep around." Tugger leaned up against the barrel. "Might be able to convince Bomba or one of the other queens to ask Jenny if she'd-"
Rumpleteazer loudly cleared her throat. "In case you've forgotten, you're in the presence of the one and only Rumpleteazer!"
The three cats stared at her. Well, two of them did. Pounce wiggled the can in her direction but it was anyone's guess as to what he was actually looking at.
"Oh come on, you know the song!" She huffed. Still nothing. "Ugh, stay here. I'll get the stuff."
Tugger stretched luxuriously and settled on top of the barrel. "Thought she'd never volunteer."
"Why didn't you just ask her?" Tumble steered his brother to sit in the barrel again.
"Because, my dear Tumble, if anyone asks, she can only say that it was her idea. Thus I will not be implicated and subsequently blamed if she gets caught stealing from Jenny."
"Oh." Tumble looked like he understood about half the words, but he nodded all the same.
It didn't take long for Rumpleteazer to return, holding a small jar triumphantly aloft. She trotted over and held out her prize. Tugger took it from her, visibly impressed.
"I have to admit, you are good. Perhaps too good." He wrestled the jar open, wrinkling his nose at the slimy contents.
"Aw, thanks, Tug, you're making me blush." Teazer flicked her tail under his nose and helped Tumble hold Pounce still. The kitten seemed to sense that he was about to be greased up and started to struggle.
"Hey, Pounce, you want to be free, right? You gotta hold still." Tumble said, all but sitting on his brother to keep him still.
"I've changed my mind! I don't want to anymore! I'll be a can cat forever, that's fine!" The kitten shrieked.
It took the three of them to pin him down, much to everyone's surprise. Pouncival was still rather small for his age, having not hit a growth spurt yet, but retained an unnatural flexibility and ability to wiggle his way out of just about anything, especially if he was about to get in trouble. The struggle wound up with Pounce flat on his stomach, Tumble coiled around his legs and Teazer holding his arms, and Tugger sitting on his back.
"Now, sit still or I'm going to end up greasing more than just your neck." Tugger warned.
"Be careful, Tug, that stuff doesn't come out easily." Teazer said.
"Great. If this stuff gets stuck in my mane I'm telling everyone that it was both your fault." Tugger said, pointing a look at Tumble, who cringed. The second his fur touched the contents of the jar it clumped together, and hurriedly he smeared it all around Pouncival's neck in an attempt to wipe it off.
Pouncival howled, the can acting as a funnel and echoing his displeasure all around the junkyard. Tugger worked quickly, hoping against hope that everyone was busy napping or lazing about in the sun to notice the kitten's torture.
"Shut- up- or I'll-" Tugger grunted, unable to finish his sentence as Pounce reared back his head, hitting him square in the face. "Pouncival! Everlasting Cat, hold still!"
Teazer let go of the kitten's arms and grabbed hold of the can just as Pounce reared back again. With a satisfying 'pop!' the can came off, sending the three toms tumbling into a heap.
"Argh! It's so bright!" Pounce rolled around in the dirt, smearing grease everywhere. Tugger got out of the way but Tumble wasn't so lucky. Soon the two cream colored tabby kittens were a mess of dirt and grease. Miserably Tumble shoved Pounce off him, trying to clean himself up but failing.
"Alright you two, listen up." Tugger put his hands on his hips again, immediately smearing grease all over himself. "Oh, great."
After a quick bath (or, in Pounce's case, a thorough scrubbing), the four cats reconvened in the abandoned car, this time with the addition of Etcetera. Mungojerrie, Bombalurina and Jemima had left long ago, making the car the most private place to discuss their plans. The excitable queen immediately dissolved into giggles upon seeing a damp, peeved Pouncival, whose fur was still sticking up in spiky clumps around his neck.
"Yeah, yeah, Cettie, laugh it up." Pounce muttered. "Let's see how you like it when it happens to you."
"Alright, listen up." Tugger said, trying to talk over the queen's giggles, "We don't have much time. Tumble, Pounce, we need you to- hey, are you even paying attention?"
The brothers were doing anything but. Tumble had gotten interested in something shiny on the floor of the car, disappearing up into the dashboard, Pouncival trying to follow but getting stuck. Again. Etcetera was pulling on Pouncival's tail to try and get him free.
"Face it, Tug, it's a lost cause." Teazer sighed as the tom stepped in and pulled Pounce out in one swift motion. Tumble came out soon after, both looking as innocent as they could and failing miserably.
"Look, what's it going to take to get you two to cooperate?" Tugger asked, leaning up against the upholstery. "I know there's something that'll make you two focus for more than five seconds."
The two kittens shared a look. Tumble nudged his brother forward on the seat. Pounce looked everywhere but at Tugger, ears twitching erratically. Finally he mumbled something.
"What?" Tugger asked.
"PutinagoodwordwithBombaforme." The tom muttered, turning red. Etcetera and Teazer both started their maddening chorus of giggles.
"Nevermind, forget I said it. It was a stupid request. I'm gonna go die now." Pounce tried to slink away but was stopped by Tugger grabbing his ankle and hauling him back.
"Wait a minute, do you have a thing for her?" Now that was an interesting piece of information. Of course, Bombalurina was far and away out of Pouncival's league, but Tugger had to hand it to him, when he aimed high he went all out.
"Uh, yeah, who doesn't?" The tom's face turned dreamy. "I'd do anything to have her notice me."
"Yeah, you rubbing yourself all over her at last year's ball wasn't exactly subtle." Tumble snorted.
"Shut up, you're just jealous!" Despite being held hostage Pounce still managed to land a swipe on his brother, leading the two to fall into their preferred way of arguing: wrestling.
"Hey, hey, break it up! Fine! I'll put in a good word for you with Bomba. What she does after that is entirely up to her." Tugger pried them apart. Tumble sat over by Teazer, letting the queen groom his ruffled fur.
"Great!" Pounce immediately forgot to be embarrassed. "Whatcha want us to do?"
"Right." Tugger adopted a cool, unaffected pose. Etcetera immediately attached herself to his leg. Time to get back on track. "So, we need you to distract Munkustrap and Alonzo for a bit. Just keep them occupied and far away from their dens."
"Why?" Tumble asked, suspicious.
"Why not? Just for fun." Tugger wasn't sure if it was the best idea to let the toms in on the secret. Tumble might have been able to keep the knowledge under wraps, but Pounce certainly wouldn't. Although… Etcetera had kept quiet so far, and she was the first kitten everyone went to when they wanted knowledge spread around the junkyard like wildfire.
"Yeah, nothing's ever 'just for fun' when it comes to causing trouble around Munk and Lonz." Pounce said. "We're not stupid."
"Pounce's right." Tumble said. "We wanna know why we gotta make trouble before we do it."
"Fine, fine. But you have to keep it a secret. If word gets out then I'll never talk to either of you again, and that includes talking to Bomba on your behalf." Tugger leaned in closer. "Munkustrap and Alonzo are-"
"They're in love!" Etcetera squeaked, bouncing up and down next to Tugger's leg. "Teazer and Electra and I saw them! They're mates!"
Silence fell upon the group. Tumblebrutus went a strange color. Pouncival gagged.
"Gross! Don't say stuff like that!" Pounce said, scooting away from the excited Etcetera. "Cettie, don't make up junk about- about that!"
"It's true! I swear upon the Everlasting Cat as my witness!"
"Well, that's a surprise." Tumble said, voice sounding slightly strangled. "W-why haven't they said anything?"
"That's what we want to know." Tugger cut back in. "And we plan on-"
"But… why don't you just ask them?" Tumble asked. Silence fell upon the group again. Not so much because of the question itself, but because Tumble of all Jellicles asked it. No one quite knew what to say.
"Because… that's just too easy. And Munk'll never admit it without proof." Tugger said, not wanting Tumble to be the reasonable one in this situation.
"'Sides, this is much more fun!" Teazer threw an arm over Tumble's shoulders. "Don't tell me you've lost your sense of adventure!"
"No, no, I haven't!" Tumble squeaked.
"You sound too mature. What have you done with my brother?" Pounce asked, batting at Tumble's ears.
"Focus everyone, focus!" Tugger shouted. When did he become the responsible adult? It didn't suit him. He had to remember the end goal, the mission in mind. Keep on track before everything got derailed. A little focus went a long way. Great, now he was starting to sound like Munk.
Tugger's shout did the trick. Obediently everyone settled and waited for him to continue.
"Alright. Munk and Lonz are a secret couple. I want to know why. But we can't just go asking them because neither will admit it. If we can get some proof, some hardcore evidence- Teazer, no, not like that, stop laughing- some physical thing- Cettie, not you too, come on- I mean something that we can show to them, then they'll fess up. If they don't, then at least we'll have some good blackmail for the future."
"So… you want me and Tumble to distract them while you go rummage through their stuff?" Pounce asked, wiggling impatiently.
"Yeah. But you have to swear not to tell anyone that you know about this plan."
"Eh, so long as you tell Bomba how great I am, then I'm in." Living up to his name, he pounced on Tumble, sending them both sprawling. "And I'll make sure this spoilsport is in on it too."
"I am not a- argh!" Back to the wrestling. Tugger rolled his eyes. At least part one of his grand plan was complete. Operation 'Make Munkustrap and Alonzo confess their secret love relationship to the rest of the junkyard' was almost a go. They would have to come up with a better name eventually.
Stay tuned for chapter two!