Here's part two and the final part of this fic!
"Alright. So. I've thought about it." Tugger said the next day after he convinced Munk to leave and get some Jellicle Protector business done.
"Don't hurt yourself." Alonzo said dryly, closing his eyes and settling back into the pillows as Tugger sat down. The fevered flush to his cheeks was noticeably absent and his voice was stronger.
"Hey, don't go to sleep. I have an idea." Tugger put his legs up on the bed and prodded Alonzo with a foot.
"I'm not sleeping. I don't dare to when you're around. Not after all you know."
"You'll like this idea, I promise."
"I think you should tell him that the only thing that will make you feel better is if Munk became your mate. Proclaim your undying love to him while insinuating that you would die without him."
"Really. That's the best idea you've got." Alonzo opened his eyes only so that he could roll them.
"Well, no, but the other ideas require a little more strenuous activity that I doubt you're up for in your current health."
"Seriously, is sex all you think about?"
"No." Tugger said. "But it's definitely more fun to consider than you just laying here wallowing in misery."
"I am not wallowing. I am sick." Alonzo sighed. "Both in health and of you."
"You know what I'm sick of?"
"No. And I don't care."
"You wound me." Tugger put a paw over his chest. "I'm sick of cats not confessing their feelings for each other. It would make the world a much better place if everyone just was honest. Certainly would save a lot of time for more pleasurable activities. And I don't mean just cuddling in bed together."
Alonzo didn't respond. Tugger took the silence as an opportunity to continue.
"I'm pretty sure that Munk loves you." To Tugger's disappointment Alonzo didn't so much as twitch. "Hey, that should be a revelation for you."
"Forgive me if I don't immediately trust the horniest cat in the junkyard's opinions." Alonzo said somewhat bitterly. "You think that everyone should just jump each other and be done with it."
"I do not." Tugger said, actually feeling offended. He sat down on the edge of the bed, hard enough to jostle the other cat. "And just because I like to flirt and have fun with a fair amount of cats doesn't mean I don't recognize love when I see it."
Alonzo didn't say anything to that. Instead he tried to roll over to stare at the wall but Tugger held him by the shoulder and stopped him.
"Listen to me. Munk is my brother. I may be a flirt and enjoy the company of others, casual or otherwise, but I know that my brother isn't like me. And, even though I take great pleasure in aggravating him, I still want him to find happiness."
Alonzo stared at him.
"Also, I can tell that any time he looks at you it's like nothing else exists. It's very annoying. Looking back on it it's so obvious."
"I… I just can't get a read on him." Alonzo finally said.
"Munk plays his cards very close to his chest. He doesn't like to let others see him vulnerable. Hell, even I have to poke and pry until he gives up and tells me what he's thinking sometimes. Pretty sure the only other cat he's even opened up to is you. And I doubt you have to harass him as much as I do."
"He did say some nice things yesterday after you left." Alonzo said quietly.
"Yeah, he did. I think you can take him for his word when he said you were the most important thing in the world to him."
"That was nice- hey, you were listening to us!" Alonzo tried his best to look outraged, but the effect was ruined by him sneezing.
"Well, yeah." Tugger handed him a tissue. "You know what else I know?"
"I can only imagine what. And even if I said I didn't want to know you would tell me anyways."
"I also know that if Munk didn't want to take care of you, he wouldn't have tucked you into his bed and played the role of the sexy nursemaid." Tugger winked.
"You're terrible." Alonzo was smiling though.
"You know I'm right. Don't deny it."
"So maybe you're right." Alonzo said, holding up a paw as Tugger opened his mouth to speak. "Hold on, I said maybe. Maybe Munk shares the same sentiment towards me as I do towards him-"
"Just say that you love each other, jeez. You sound like an old, decrepit poet."
"Shut up. As I was saying, maybe we both feel the same way. How am I going to tell him? Last time I tried I wound up coming here, talking way too long about the weather, almost threw up and then passed out in his bed."
"Seriously, that's what went down?"
"Now that I think about it the almost throwing up and passing out part might have been the start of the illness and not nerves." Alonzo realized out loud.
"I hope so. But really, you talked about the weather?"
"Obviously." Tugger sighed. "Right. So don't do that again."
"We've established that I should not do that again." Alonzo sighed. "I can't believe I'm taking relationship advice from you."
"Obviously that is something you should do more often. You and Munk would have been mated by now if you had."
"Oh, and you're an expert on mates?" Alonzo raised an eyebrow.
"Look, are you going to keep avoiding the subject by trying to delve into my relationships? Because I will gladly recount all of my exploits, especially since you have no place else to go." Tugger challenged.
"I could leave if I wanted to." Alonzo said unconvincingly.
"Yeah, I'd like to see that. Just 'cause the fever's gone doesn't mean you're out of the woods."
"Now you're a medical expert like Jenny?"
"You're really not good at asking for advice, are you?" Tugger prodded Alonzo with his foot again.
The black and white cat shifted away from Tugger's foot and rubbed his cheek none too subtly on the pillow, sniffling quietly as he obviously tried to inhale Munk's scent.
"Alright. I'm sorry for getting upset." Alonzo said quietly. "I do want your help. Because if I have to go back to my own den and go on trying to be just friends with Munk then I'm going to lose my mind."
"I think we can safely say that you're already past that point." Tugger said, earning himself a sour look. "Alright, I'm sorry. That was uncalled for. Between the two of us I think we can figure something out."
The conversation didn't last long after that, mainly due to the fact that Alonzo fell asleep mid sentence, much to Tugger's amusement. While the fever was gone and the coughing not nearly as frequent, it was clear to see that it would take a while for Alonzo to get his energy and strength back. Not that Munk seemed to mind having Alonzo take up space in his den.
Tugger's mind flashed back to the memory of seeing Munk and Alonzo curled up together under the blanket. Even his brother had to realize that they were acting much more familiar with each other than a usual pair of friends. Sure, sometimes Tugger and Munk had curled up together when they were younger, especially when a storm was coming or it was especially cold, but now that they were older it happen much less often than before. And certainly not to this extent.
Whether or not Munk was interested in being official mates with Alonzo was still a mystery. Clearly Munk cared for him, otherwise he wouldn't have plainly said that Alonzo was 'the most important thing' to him. That wasn't something that even Tugger had said to anyone he cared about. But if Munk cared that much, why hadn't he said anything to Alonzo? Or even confided in anyone else?
Tugger was so deep in thought that he didn't notice Munkustrap's return until the silver tabby was practically standing on top of him. The small gasp and flinch from Tugger did not go unnoticed.
"Are you alright?" Munk raised an eyebrow as Tugger tried to compose himself.
"Yeah, yeah, just thinking. Everlasting Cat, you need to make more noise when you walk around."
"I didn't think I needed to worry about sneaking up on someone in my own home, but I'll try to be more loud next time." Munk said with just a hint of sarcasm as he put down the thermos of tea he had brought with him.
"You do that. Almost had a heart attack." Tugger relaxed back in his seat.
"What were you thinking about? Surely the sight of Lonz sleeping isn't that entrancing."
"Oh, it's not. At least not for me." Tugger muttered.
"What was that?"
"Now that I don't believe. You think that everything you say is important." Munk busied himself by checking Alonzo's forehead, letting out a pleased hum at finding it at a normal temperature.
"Everything I say is important. Just maybe not directly relating to me." Tugger said, studying the way his brother stared down at the sick cat.
"Honestly, Tugger, even after a lifetime of knowing you I still can never tell what's going on inside your head." Munk sat down on the bed, adjusting the blankets around Alonzo and giving Tugger a long look. He didn't seem to be in such a hurry to kick Tugger out as before, a fact that did not escape Tugger's notice.
"Well, you say that like it's a bad thing." Tugger leaned back in his chair. "I'm not one to readily admit not knowing what someone's thinking, but the same could be said about you. Especially regarding recent events."
"Recent events?" Munk repeated. "What do you mean by that?"
Here was an opening in the conversation Tugger didn't even know he was waiting for. Already Alonzo had confessed to loving Munkustrap, so maybe, if Tugger played his cards right, he could get Munk to admit the same feelings that he so clearly had. Then the only difficult part would be getting them to admit it to each other, which really wouldn't be so hard once Tugger had time to think it out.
"Right. So, I've been thinking-"
"Here we go. Let me at least get comfortable before you interrogate me." Munk stretched out on the bed, leaving a noticeable gap between him and Alonzo. Immediately Alonzo rolled over and closed the gap between them, muttering in his sleep and pressing up against Munk's side. The silver tabby casually draped an arm around Alonzo's shoulders.
"Oh come on, we haven't talked in a long time." Tugger said, using an extraordinary amount of willpower to not comment at the sight before him. "Is it so wrong for me to think about my older brother and his mate from time to time?"
"Yes." Munk said without missing a beat. "Because whenever you have lots of time to think you always come up with the strangest and most outlandish ideas."
"Blame my curious nature for that. But I'll have you know that Lonz listened to my ideas and even liked some of them."
"No doubt because he was in a delirious, fever induced haze at the time." Munk replied, smiling despite himself. "He couldn't even fight back if he wanted to. Seems cruel to leave him with you now that I think about it."
"You know, I seem to be the only one who sees this sarcastic, rude side of you." Tugger said, trying to catch Munk off guard. "You should talk to the others like this more often. Maybe they'd be so surprised they'd actually listen to you during rehearsals and meetings."
"They do listen to me." Munk did not rise to the bait, keeping his voice calm and quiet. "You're the only one that I need to be sarcastic and rude with to get anywhere in a private conversation. Like now. I can tell you're working up to ask something that I'm not going to want to answer, so just get on with it."
"Fine. Lonz was more fun to talk to. At least he was willing to banter a bit."
"I can only imagine what you two talked about." Munk glanced down at Alonzo.
"We'll get to that. Although he swore me to secrecy." Tugger helped himself to some of the tea that Munk had brought with him.
"I have a hard time imaging what you and Lonz talked about that he could possibly want to keep from me. Also, that tea is not for you."
"Well, he's not going to drink it." Tugger said, gesturing towards the still sleeping Alonzo with the mug. "And I'm allowed to have secret conversations with your mate if I'm risking my own health and wellness to watch him for you."
"I do appreciate you keeping an eye on him while I'm away. At the very least it makes it easier for me to take care of my normal duties." Despite his earlier statement Munk also helped himself to some of the tea.
"I thought you said that was for Lonz."
"I said that it wasn't for you. And you're right, he's not going to be drinking it any time soon. I'd rather he get as much rest as he can right now."
"You know, if you weren't busy being the Jellicle Protector, you'd make a decent doctor. Or at the very least a good caretaker."
"Thanks." Munk said dryly.
"No, I'm serious."
"I appreciate it. But I'm afraid that I'm really only open to keeping one sick cat in my home at a time, and even then I'd rather it just be…." Munk trailed off, staring down at Alonzo in thought.
"Just be Alonzo." Tugger finished helpfully.
"Yes." Munk said thoughtfully.
"You know, I've never seen you care for someone quite to the same extent as you do for him." Tugger remarked.
"Really." Munk said, taking a long drink of his tea. His face was a carefully controlled mask of casual indifference.
"Really. And that brings me back to what I wanted to ask you- wait." Tugger paused, turning to stare directly into Munkustrap's eyes. "Wait a minute."
"What?" Munk innocently stared back at him.
"I've called Lonz your mate a couple times now and not once have you corrected me." Tugger frowned.
It would have been almost comical how quickly the two fell silent, if not for the fact that the revelation was something that Munkustrap clearly did not want revealed. The silver tabby stared at him for a long while, eyes not once drifting away, until finally Tugger shifted uncomfortably and broke the impromptu staring contest.
Finally Munk spoke. "I didn't realize. It seemed so natural hearing it from you that it didn't even occur to me that I should have corrected you."
"Do you need to correct me?" Tugger asked quietly, trying to tread delicately.
"I… I suppose I should." Munk stared down at Alonzo. "But I don't want to."
"Don't want to what?"
"Tugger, why are you doing this?" Munk sighed, looking unusually weary.
"Asking questions. Prodding and poking around in business that isn't yours."
"Because I'm curious." Tugger said. "And because this is important. Don't tell me it isn't."
"Yes, it's important. But not to you."
"Excuse me, but it is important to me. Otherwise why would I bother asking in the first place?" Tugger felt himself getting annoyed. Quickly he took a breath to compose himself. Munkustrap was just as good as steering the conversation in a particular direction as he himself was, and between the two of them he could tell that this was going to be a difficult conversation to manage. But he had to get to the truth.
"What does it matter?" Munk asked. "Why do you need to know how I feel about, well, anything?"
"Besides the fact that you're my brother and I care about you, you are also the Jellicle Protector. I don't say this lightly but you're kind of important to the tribe. And if, say, there's a certain special someone you care about, it's something that I and the others will want to know."
"See, this is exactly why I don't talk about things like this." Munk said, voice strained. His arm tightened around Alonzo's shoulders. "Because as soon as anyone gets an inkling in their head about me then it suddenly becomes everyone's business."
Tugger watched his brother carefully. It wasn't his intention to make Munkustrap angry, especially when he was trying to get him to hopefully admit something that made him happy, but clearly a nerve had been struck.
"Look, Munk, I'm not intending on pushing you into a corner. It's just… after the conversation I had with Lonz and this- this-" Tugger gestured to the two cats on the bed. "- this whole situation I can't help but notice that, well, you two are obviously more than just good friends. Any other pair would have come out and said something long before now."
"It's not that simple." Munk sighed.
"Clearly it's not."
"I am curious as to what Lonz said that led you to this line of interrogation."
"You're avoiding my question. Also, even if I hadn't talked with Lonz, you're doing a terrible job of convincing me that there's nothing going on between you two." Tugger gestured again.
Before Munk could fire off a retort Alonzo shifted in his sleep, pulling his face away from Munk's fur and blearily opening his eyes.
"Yes?" Immediately Munk's full attention was on him, all traces of anger quickly replaced with unashamed adoration.
"Are you back?"
"Oh. Good." Alonzo closed his eyes and settled back down, throwing an arm over Munkustrap possessively. "Don't go anywhere."
"I won't. I promise."
Alonzo let out a little hum of contentment as he drifted back off to sleep. "Love you."
Munk turned a very interesting color. It took all Tugger had in him to not leap to his feet and knock Munk and Alonzo's heads together. Instead, in a show of patience that surprised even himself, Tugger leaned back in his chair and waited.
Munk didn't even seem to breathe, staring down at Alonzo with such a mixed expression of shock and fierce adoration that it was a wonder he didn't give in and wake Alonzo back up to ask for further clarification. Instead he just continued to stare.
"Well." Tugger finally said once he realized that Munk wasn't going to say anything. "That was something."
Munk flinched, eyes snapping back up to Tugger. "What?"
"Really, Munk? After Lonz straight up says that he loves you you're going to pretend you don't know what's going on?"
"Obviously he was still asleep when he said that." Munk muttered.
"Well, that makes it more obvious then. He wasn't awake enough to be coy about how he really feels about you." Tugger rolled his eyes. "Seriously, this is getting old."
"Is that what you and Lonz talked about? Our relationship?"
"Okay, so I wasn't going to say anything, but since he technically just did, yes, we talked about the fact that Lonz loves you." Tugger said, watching Munk's face carefully.
The barest flicker of hope passed through Munkustrap's eyes. Idly he played with Alonzo's fur, gazing down at the sleeping cat with a look that he had never given any other cat in his life.
"That. That right there is what I'm talking about." Tugger quickly pointed out. "That is not a platonic look. Do you need me to leave before I regret sticking around?"
"No, Tugger, you don't need to leave." Munk rolled his eyes. "I can wait for Lonz to wake up before I tell him that I love him."
"Finally. Finally you admit it. Was that so hard?"
"You really need a hobby if this is what you're fixated on." Munk huffed. "Surely there must be more interesting things going on in the junkyard."
"Sadly, no." Tugger leaned forward in his seat. "Especially since you finally came out and told the truth. How long have you been hiding this from him?"
"A long time." Munk said softly. "Too long."
"What?" Munk asked, startled.
"Nothing. Just déjà vu." Tugger waved it off. "What I want to know now is why haven't you told Lonz how you feel?"
"I… I don't know." Munk admitted. "Just hasn't felt like the right time. And there was the lingering doubt that he would return my feelings."
"You two are definitely made for each other." Tugger muttered.
"So now that you apparently know more about how Lonz and I feel for one another more than we ourselves do, what are you going to do about it?" Munk asked, trying to sound casual but visibly tense.
"Relax, I'm not going to do anything." Tugger said. "Just please promise me you'll do something about this unresolved tension between you two. Because I can't stand seeing you pine after each other."
"I can hardly believe that either of us has been pining."
"When I look back on all those quiet looks you've been giving one another over the years- Everlasting Cat, years- I can clearly see that you were pining. That counts." Tugger pointed out. "Also, the other day Lonz cried when he realized that I was here instead of you, and it wasn't because of anything I did."
Munk held Alonzo tightly to him. "If I could spare him from any of this pain I would."
"Munk, he's not dying. He's sick. And he's getting better." Tugger reminded him. "Let him be the dramatic one in the relationship."
"Relationship." Munk repeated.
"Well, yeah, you two are pretty much mated already." Tugger said bluntly. "Look at you. If Lonz wasn't sick I'd bet you'd be doing a lot more together in bed than just cuddling."
"Tugger, I appreciate this heart to heart we're having, but I am not discussing my sex life with you." Munk said plainly.
"Honestly I don't really want to discuss that with you either. I like to consider myself an open minded cat but even I have boundaries."
An uncomfortable silence descended upon them both. Part of Tugger wished for Alonzo to wake up and start confessing his feelings again in a sleep induced delirium, but unfortunately the black and white cat seemed to be done for now.
"Well, I think I've done all the counseling I can do for now." Tugger said, stretching his limbs as he got to his feet. "Good luck with all… all of this."
"Thanks." Munk sighed. "See you tomorrow?"
"Only if you're not sick of me."
"Despite the irritating way you can just worm your way into a situation and get exactly what you want, you are always welcome here."
"You might want to rethink those words once you and Lonz are officially mates." Tugger said, cocking his hip to the side and leaning up against the wall. "Might not want just anyone barging in while you two are busy-"
"Goodbye, Tugger." Munk's exasperated tone was enough for Tugger to take his leave. This time he didn't bother to linger, giving the two some much needed privacy.
Unsurprisingly Tugger was back the next day. What was a surprise was that Munkustrap was still sleeping when Tugger sauntered inside his den. Even more surprising was the fact that he was alone.
"Munk, wake up." Tugger roughly shook his brother awake. "Where's Lonz?"
"Huh?" Munk rubbed his eyes, sitting up and immediately noticing the lack of the black and white cat next to him. "Where's Lonz?"
"I just asked you that."
"He was here when we fell asleep last night." Munk pulled back the blankets.
"Did you two talk about anything? Anything in particular?"
"No, Tugger, we didn't get around to that. We were both tired and I couldn't think of a good way to say, 'Oh, by the way, Alonzo, I love you, let's confess our undying love to one another and become mates', but I'll be sure to do that as soon as I find him!" Munk yelled, clearly distraught.
"Easy, easy, we'll find him. He can't have gone far." Tugger gave his brother some space, choosing to pace the floor as he thought. "Where would he go?"
Munk sat on the bed and buried his face in his paws. It was the first time in a long time that Tugger had seen him so upset.
"Hey, Munk, we're going to find him. Don't worry." Tugger patted his shoulder, feeling deeply uneasy. Upset Alonzo was one thing, upset Munk was another thing entirely.
"I'll see if he went to Jenny's." Munk said, rubbing his eyes.
"I'll take a look around here. Maybe he just needed some fresh air or something." Tugger's words did not inspire much hope. As soon as he and Munk split up Tugger found himself heading straight for Alonzo's den.
"It'd be too easy if he went home." Tugger muttered.
As soon as he approached he could smell the now too familiar scent of sickness. With a sigh he pushed the door open, exasperation quickly turning to concern as he found Alonzo huddled on the floor.
"Lonz, what are you doing? Are you trying to give me and Munk a heart attack?" Tugger crouched down next to the shivering cat, pulling a blanket off the bed and draping it over him.
"No." Alonzo said, immediately leaning up against Tugger for his body heat.
"Then please, enlighten me. Tell me what you're doing here."
"I live here. I can- I can be here if I want."
"Yeah, of course, but I know for a fact that you'd rather be with Munk right now."
"I… I think I might have said something to Munk. In my sleep." Alonzo swallowed thickly. "Something's different between us and I don't know what it is, but when I woke up after you left Munk wasn't acting like his usual self."
"Everlasting Cat, is that what this is all about?" Tugger was about ready to drag Alonzo out by his ears and bodily throw him into Munkustrap's arms. "You want to know what you said to him when you were asleep? Because I was there."
"What? What did I say?"
"You said- actually, no, you know what? I'm not going to let you two dance around each other any more. This is getting ridiculous." Tugger hauled Alonzo to his feet. "You are coming with me."
"Wait- no- I'm not-" Alonzo's distressed shouts were ignored as Tugger dragged Alonzo outside. "Stop! Let go of me!"
"Stop your yelling, we're just going back to Munk's. You're going to alert half the junkyard at this rate-" Tugger was interrupted by a possessive yowl from above.
A huge silver blur knocked him down to the ground, sending Alonzo sprawling in the dirt. Claws pricked the sensitive skin at his throat, leaving Tugger completely defenseless.
"Don't you dare touch him you- Tugger?" Munkustrap's snarl quickly turned to surprise.
"What in the Everlasting Cat's name is wrong with you?" Tugger groaned, shoving the claws away and clutching his head from where it had smacked into the ground. "Did you lose your mind? Ow!"
"I'm sorry, I thought you were trying to hurt Lonz." Munk said, climbing off of Tugger and hurrying over to Alonzo. "Are both of you alright?"
"Yeah, I'm fine." Tugger muttered. "We were coming to see you anyways. Just made the inevitable happen sooner, that's all."
Munk swept Alonzo up into a hug, burying his face in the black and white cat's fur. "Please don't do that again. I don't think I can handle you disappearing again."
"I won't." Alonzo promised. "I don't know what I was thinking."
"Before anything else happens, I have to tell you something." Munk sighed deeply, still holding Alonzo close. He seemed to be the only thing holding Alonzo up.
"Wait, Munk, I have to tell you something too."
"Let me say this-"
"Wait, I need to-"
"For the love of all of Heaviside, just say it!" Tugger shouted, startling them both. "I'm going to lose my mind!"
Munk nodded, finally pulling away from Alonzo so he could look him in the eyes. "Lonz, I-"
"MunkustrapIloveyou." Alonzo blurted out.
"I… you already told me." Munk said.
"Yes. When you were sleeping."
"I… I did not realize that." Alonzo looked like he was about to faint.
"It's alright. I'm glad you said it. Because it gives me the courage to do this." Munkustrap leaned in and kissed him. When he pulled away Alonzo gaped at him.
"Oh." Was all Alonzo could say, heat rising to his face that was not due to fever.
"Yes." Munk smiled.
"So… I take it you feel the same?" Alonzo stared at him hopefully.
"Oh, yes. I love you too. Very much so." Munk swept him up in another kiss.
"Thank you." Tugger sighed, flopping back onto the dirt. "Took you both long enough."
It took about a week for Alonzo to finally get his feet back under him. Thankfully, against all odds, neither Munkustrap nor Tugger caught his illness. News had spread quickly about Alonzo being sick, but it was nothing compared to how fast the news spread once Munkustrap and Alonzo announced that they were officially mates.
"So, I take it you're feeling better." Tugger said, leaning up against the wall to Munk's den. Now Munk and Alonzo's den, by the looks of it.
"Yes. No thanks to you." Alonzo said teasingly. His once dull fur was now back to its usual silky, pristine self as he stretched out in the sun.
"Your words would hurt more if you weren't smiling like a lovesick lunatic." Tugger pointed out.
"Do I need to do something about him?" Munkustrap poked his head out the door, giving Tugger a suspicious look.
"Please don't tackle me to the ground and try and rip my throat out again." Tugger held up his paws. "I promise I didn't touch your precious mate."
"I'm fine, Munk. Truly, I am." Alonzo rolled his eyes at Tugger's theatrics.
"Glad to hear. Because if you and Tugger are done talking, I would very much appreciate it if you joined me inside. Alone. Right now." The tone in Munkustrap's voice left little to the imagination. Even if there was any doubt as to what the silver tabby was implying, the look Alonzo gave him in return cleared up any doubts as to what exactly Munkustrap had in mind.
Tugger hurried off before he could hear anything more. There were some things that he would rather not be curious about.
Thanks for reading my tale of lovesick catboys pining for one another. Hope you enjoyed it!