After the Ball
Author's Note: I'm SO unbelievably sorry for not updating sooner. Even though I'm currently in my 16 week holiday from school (though nearing the end of that-typical) I have not found the time or motivation to write any more. However your reviews kept coming in and so I thought it was only fair that I update. I would just like to warn you though, because I am having a writer's block, this chapter may not be up to scratch with the others, so please! Be gentle with it!
I'd like to thank all the people who reviewed. Krissy4, mrmistoffelees, Robin Gurl, and JD.
A special thanks for just a girl in crystal who really took some time to review and also Kitty who reviewed a few times; I wanted to try and finish this chapter so you would have something to read when you got back from boot camp!
"First off I would like to state that my terms are not to be taken lightly. If you do betray that annoying Jellicle trait of yours and disobey my orders I will make sure you suffer an excruciating end."
Mistoffelees pondered this statement nervously. His mind was screaming at him to agree with anything. Anything to delay another onset of abuse, and yet, his heart (the largest part of him metaphorically speaking) was battling to stand up and fight, it was what Munkustrap would do, or Tugger if he was still here. Lack of courage and strength paralysed him for now. Instead he merely answered,
"What terms would these be Macavity?"
Instead of answering this question directly, the Napoleon of crime took an elongated route around the subject. "The Jellicle Ball," he started, "That night should've been mine! Yet there was one cat who defied me that well earned victory. It wasn't my brother Munkustrap or even any of the others that tried to fight me; it was typical of them to do so. No it was a rather pathetic kitten who managed to snatch away my prize. YOU!" The roaring noise of Macavity's voice was the most terrifying noise Mistoffelees had ever heard and he flinched at the harshness of it.
"It was YOU who took Deuteronomy away, YOU who denied me control of the tribe and YOU who has defied me, and I let no one defy me, NO ONE!" Macavity grabbed the fur at Mistoffelees neck and lifted the trembling figure off the floor.
"What makes you so different?" Macavity asked more to himself and in a scarily calm tone. His eyes roamed Mistoffelees' body for answers. No answer.
"As I thought, there is no difference…" He dropped the smaller cat. Macavity's mind then wandered into deep thought. This cat, Mistoffelees, was different, very different. His magic, so…unique in a cat and so strong. He had often come across mystical cats such as the Jellicle twins, however, never had he found someone like his current captive. The only other he knew of such powers was himself, however doubt clouded his senses- from what he had seen and sensed from Mistoffelees was a brilliant power, one that was undeveloped but still there. If Mistoffelees realised this and controlled his gift, it could very well mean the end to his reign of terror. This he did not want.
Mistoffelees shakily registered Macavity's eyes becoming unfocused and thought that he must be thinking about something, most likely his fate. This lasted for but a second and then Mistoffelees was dropped back onto the dusty floor.
"You are to be my prisoner and slave for the rest of your miserable life, or until I get bored of you and terminate you myself. When I take over the Jellicle tribe you will do nothing to stop me."
This caused a reaction from the conjurer.
"Macavity! You swore to me that you would not harm the Jellicles if I was to submit," Mistoffelees' voice was strained and offended.
Macavity was quick to reply, "Wrong, I said I would spare my brother, The Rum Tum Tugger's life. I mentioned nothing about the Jellicles. When it comes to my leadership over the tribe, The Rum Tum Tugger will be kept alive just as I promised." Mistoffelees gave a cry of mixed anger and despair.
"You have tricked me Macavity! You led me to believe that the Jellicle's would be safe."
"And then what use would that of been to me?" countered Macavity with an evil grin. He enjoyed the tear that formed at his captive's eye and fell to form a clear streak on his bloodied face. On that note Macavity left, bored of toying with the emotions of the young tom. Mistoffelees merely sat in his corner fighting back quiet sobs throughout the duration of the night.
Silently creeping back from the alley to Macavity's headquarters was easy enough. Entering was even easier as every cat in the place knew Vincent and his reputation of being one of the boss' favourites and most deadly. Grumbuskin watched him pass into a private room, then made his way toward Macavity's room of business. He entered to find Macavity speaking with a young female cat who was obviously nervous about the situation. Grumbuskin's boss took note of his entrance and then said, "Well then, we shall meet again soon, run along," he gave the female cat a harsh kiss and let her scurry off out of the room.
"What is it Grumbuskin?" Macavity asked. The second in command did not answer right away. Instead he examined his boss' mood to decide whether or not to tell of his suspicions to him. Uncharacteristically Macavity appeared to be in good spirits and Grumbuskin figured his meeting with the prisoner went well. It was this factor which finally urged him to speak.
"Vincent just came back, he didn't inform anyone where he was going," Grumbuskin explained. Macavity shrugged, "so? Vincent often wanders on his own; he's not one to be questioned of where he goes."
"Well I reckon he came from the direction of the Junkyard, I don't trust 'im Boss, why would he be skulking round there?"
Macavity pondered this. Grumbuskin was not often wrong and had never given him cause to disbelieve his second in command. Then again, neither had Vincent- his most prized assassin.
"Have someone follow him next time he leaves, make sure its someone good, he knows when hes being tracked." The orange and red tom ordered, his light cheery mood literally flying out of the window.
"I'll see to it meself," Grumbuskin barked seriously, and then departed swiftly, not wanting to aggravate his boss anymore. When he had gone, Macavity turned to the shattered window and stared out dangerously. He decided to put his plan into action sooner rather than later.
A few days passed. Seemingly normal and lazy, just like any other day, but for the fact that one member of the Jellicle tribe was still missing. This, of course, could not go unnoticed for so long. True Mistoffelees was often ignored and could get away with leaving in his most aloof manner, but the battered appearance of The Rum Tum Tugger combined with this only caused a mild panic to wash over the tribe. The Rum Tum Tugger himself had received much attention from not only the queens, but the toms as well. A memorable visit was when Tumblebrutus had nervously asked him if Macavity's eyes had glowed a deep red colour, as the stories said. The Tugger replied that not only did his eyes light up sinisterly, but his teeth grew pointed and his claws lengthened and curled. Young Tumble's eyes widened in shock and shivered involuntarily, then, The Rum Tum Tugger burst into a fit of laughter, causing the young cat to blush foolishly.
Other than that rare occurrence, the lion cat was not able to enjoy his freedom, focusing only on Mistoffelees and how he was doing, if in fact he was still alive. More than once, The Rum Tum Tugger had desperately tried to send a mental message to his friend, feeling utterly stupid and kittenish. He knew he didn't have a scrap of mystic powers; although, he forced himself to believe that if he was to try hard enough, maybe he could make Mistoffelees recognise his presence. His small black and white friend was very in tune with all that stuff.
In times where he wasn't thinking of Mistoffelees, he occupied himself with the task of annoying Jennyanydots and Munkustrap (his favourite past time). Constantly rambling about Macavity's trap, Munkustrap was near the end of his tether. Recently, he had snapped at his brother for suggesting every possible scenario under the sun.
"Tugger," he had said, "You concentrate on getting better, saving your energy by not talking, and as protector of this tribe, I will sort out Macavity."
So he had reserved his energy, and it had paid off. For now, The Rum Tum Tugger was able to stand! On the third day of his recovery, he had emerged from the den, thinner and rougher than the queens could think possible, but still upright, and quite stable. Surface injuries such as the black eyes and minor scratches had vanished, leaving The Rum Tum Tugger looking slightly better than when he had first been captured.
The fourth (and present day) he was in the junkyard clearing with the others and surrounded by Jemima, Bombalurina, Tumblebrutus and Pouncivil (all the other queens such as Electra had been ushered away back to their owner's house). Bombalurina, lying by his side, Jemima sitting not too far away from them- merely watching, and the two brother toms continually asking questions.
Plato was on watch with Alonzo, and the young Asparagus was sent to fetch the Rumpus cat and Ademetus for backup. Demeter and Munkustrap currently were nowhere to be found. This was how Mungojerrie and Rumpleteazer found the yard when they finally returned.
"Where have you been all this time?" Alonzo demanded as soon as they set a paw in the perimeter. The black and white patched tom leapt down from his post leaving Plato to watch the scene passively. Mungojerrie raised his front paws defensively,
"Whoa, if I had thought I was gonna get this sorta welcome I would 'ave not bothered turnin' up!" he retorted, brushing past Alonzo cockily. Merely sighing, Rumpleteazer ignored the two and spied The Rum Tum Tugger surrounded by his 'fans'. She waved and shouted, "Oi!" before bounding over merrily.
"Nice to see ya out n' about Tugger!" she greeted in a bouncy tone. He raised himself so he was leaning on his elbows, then he winked, but said nothing. At that moment Mungojerrie jogged up behind his twin sister, sporting a rather repressed look of annoyance on his visage. It now seemed as if the lazy atmosphere had died causing the younger cats to grow uneasy.
"Well, as patches over there," Mungojerrie motioned to The Rum Tum Tugger's brother Alonzo, "is not gonna listen to us, I'll tell ya." The Rum Tum Tugger's ears pricked curiously.
"Yeah? What's that?"
"It's about Mistoffelees," Blurted Rumpleteazer watching as the cool face of the lion cat fell immediately into one of concern. Mungojerrie shot his sister a look clearly describing disbelief.
"Well, we know he's alive n that Macavity 'as 'im," She continued.
"But don't ask us where that is, we dunno ourselves," finished Mungojerrie.
The Rum Tum Tugger had now gained his footing and was looking about excitedly. Bombalurina had also got up and attempted to calm him down while the kittens looked on amazed at the events unfolding. The twin burglars appeared troubled though.
"We got reason ta believe Macavity has 'im involved in some sort of plan though. I reckon as a weapon or something," Mungojerrie countered soberly, his usual grin replaced with a dark frown. Macavity was never a joyful topic with him.
"A weapon! That's stupid, Mistoffelees would never do anything to hurt us," Jemima argued quickly. Other cats looked at her; shocked that she would throw herself into the conversation like that.
A memory that had abandoned The Rum Tum Tugger's mind had just then returned, along with a feeling resembling guilt.
"That's not entirely true Jemima," he said softly, his mane falling into his eyes as if to hide his guilty look. "I just remembered before I was knocked unconscious that Macavity wanted Mistoffelees to agree to something." He shook his head, as if trying to remember more. After a while of silence, he glanced up to find the curious glances of those around him boring into his body. The sudden shock of having Mistoffelees agree to stay in Macavity's clutches just to save his miserable hide was too much for him to bear and he found that he couldn't look anyone in the eye. Grumpily Bombalurina yelled after him as he pushed past them all and ran as best he could out of the junkyard and toward the only place he knew he could get help- his father's, Old Deuteronomy's.
Sodden bread and dirty water was set out for Mistoffelees to eat and drink. Even though the food resembled clumps of coal, he devoured it ravenously and then turned to the water and lapped it up. Afterwards, he sat back exhausted at the effort of merely getting up. Slowly but surely, however, his energy returned to him, his magic even made itself known again, albeit in very small quantities. It seemed to Mistoffelees that finally he had received a stroke of luck. Lying back, he could feel his strength coming back, first in his legs and then sprouting into his chest and finally reaching his neck and head.
The power accompanying his strength prodded at him mentally. The beginnings of his magic preserves were giving him ideas; ideas of escape from this horrible prison Macavity had subjected him to, however, he once again remembered his oath to the crime lord, he was to stay in Macavity's clutches by his own free will in order for his best friend The Rum Tum Tugger to be set free and kept alive.
"But for how long will that be?" Mistoffelees reflected bitterly, clenching his paws in anger. With these thoughts buzzing in his head he could not even hope to catch some sleep, so he sat in the most comfortable position he could manage staring longingly at the rustic door. He would find a way out of this situation one way or another.
"Munkustrap, I can't help but feel that something bad is going to happen, like your brother said," The quiet voice of Demeter drifted to Munkustrap's ears as they strolled. The pair had decided that the housecats who were absent from the junkyard should be warned of Mistoffelees' disappearance and the attack on their Rum Tum Tugger.
Demeter's worried confession did not surprise him in the least. There had been history between his evil brother and his mate, one he himself was not fully sure of. All he knew was that Macavity had shown an interest in Demeter back when the four brothers lived as kittens in the junkyard. As Macavity grew older and more obsessed with playing his mind games, he would taunt Demeter (more so than the other cats) until one day he left the junkyard forever, but not after he had cornered her; trying to get her to come with him. That was where Munkustrap jumped to the rescue but Demeter had been scarred that day and nervous about the Napoleon of Crime ever since.
"Its Macavity isn't it?" Her mate asked wearily. Demeter nodded.
Heavily sighing, Munkustrap suddenly appeared very tired and run down. His usual confident manner was lost for once and he admitted to Demeter, something he would normally not dare to consider, "Macavity has gone too far this time. The Rum Tum Tugger says he has to pay but I just can't do that to him…I just…can't" Demeter looked upon him sadly and moved a little closer to rub her face against his cheek. He didn't even process her presence but stared ahead.
"I know that when the time comes Munkustrap," Demeter whispered, "You will make the right decision. You fear that you will take the wrong path every time something like this happens, you don't seem to realise that you are a brilliant protector and that no cat could ever argue otherwise. No cat apart from yourself of course." She nudged him again and he turned to her, an obvious comeback fresh on his lips, however Demeter's determined face stopped him. Her pretty face was set into the most serious yet loving expression, that he found he could not deny that she had faith in him to protect the tribe. This brought a small smile to his lips and he returned the intimate gesture and they proceeded to go back to the Junkyard, to find (once they arrived) that The Rum Tugger was still away