It Was Just a Night Out
A/N: An approved spin off of "In the City" by Megera. If you've never read it, put it high on your "to do" list. It's that good. My story will be more understandable if you've read it already, but if you haven't, a word of introduction: in this alternate universe, the Jellicles are not real cats, but actually were-cat people. Under the light of the full moon, it's almost impossible for them to resist changing. Of course, the moon always gives a slight pull, whether it's full or not. "Sarah" and "Peder" are the human names of Etcetera and Tugger, and they are entirely Megera's creation, and again, are used with her permission.
Sarah smiled as she sat in the front seat of Brandon's pick-up truck. It was their first evening out together. Sure, they had been on group dates before, but this was their first private evening out together. Sarah's parents had been nervous at first to let them go out all alone together (after all, Sarah was only sixteen), but in the end, Brandon won them over. He really was a good boy, one that most parents would kill to have their daughters date. (Not to mention the fact that they were elated that their daughter had taken an interest in someone other than Peder.)
Of course, there was a totally different reason besides that that had made them a little uneasy. There were only three nights before the full moon. Understandably, they were a little concerned about Sarah's ability to ward off the change. But Sarah had reassured them adamantly, citing the fact that Brandon had promised to take her somewhere secluded (which surely meant indoors, right?), and that it was an entire three days until the actual full moon. The pull wouldn't be nearly as strong as it would be three days later.
So Sarah was confident as she rode along with her beau. She really didn't have any idea where they were going, but she trusted him; they were very much in love (or at least, as much in love as you can be at sixteen). Still, she felt herself becoming a little nervous as they turned off of the city streets and began driving on wooded back roads. "Ah, Brandon?" she asked. "Can you please tell me where we're going now?"
He smiled and kept his eyes on the road. "You'll see," he said noncommittally.
Un-helpful much, thought Sarah. She would just have to be content to wait until they got there.
Unfortunately, Sarah audibly gasped when she found out just where "there" was. Brandon had brought the truck to a stop, and she found herself parked on the edge of the road on the shoulder, over-looking the entire city, lit up in all its glory. It really was a breath-taking sight. Only one problem: they were at a rather high elevation, which brought them even closer to the moon than they would have been were they in the city itself! On top of that, they were certainly not indoors as Sarah had hoped they'd be (though they were secluded)!
"Brandon, tell me we're not staying here." She could already feel the itch that the full moon brought on (even though it was early; still, the moon was large).
Brandon looked at her curiously. "Of course this is it, Bunches" he said amusedly ("Bunches" was his name for her: don't ask). "I told you I'd bring you somewhere where we could have fun." He started leaning in to take her by the chin.
She shook him off, trembling with the effort it took to hold off changing right in front of him. "Fun!" she gasped, nervousness creeping into her voice, "What could we possibly do here that's fun!"
He leant in closer, "Well, I thought we could..."
Sarah's eyes widened. There was no way she could make out with him now! As much as she really did want to, she was fighting the needs of her felinity too hard to be able to enjoy a kiss, let alone do it in a way that would make Brandon think that nothing was wrong! She needed to get out of there NOW!
"Brandon, I'm sorry, I have to go!" she cried, visibly panicked. She fumbled with the lock next to her, trying to get out the door, but despite her hardest efforts, her hands were already changing into paws. She quickly slipped them inside the sleeves of her sweatshirt, hoping that Brandon hadn't seen, but that made it even harder to open the door.
And it hadn't exactly helped that Brandon reached over and locked the door from his side. "Sarah," he said reassuringly, "Is something wrong?"
"Wrong! No nothing's wrong?" she blatantly lied. "I just have to go NOW!" She kept fumbling with the door.
Brandon sighed and reached over to her. She tried to slip away, but he took her head in his hands and forced her to look at him. She screamed in her mind. He had to know now that she wasn't exactly normal. Etcetera's ears were already starting to poke out of her head, and she could feel the pain of her growing tail against the seat of the truck. The slight amount of make up she was wearing couldn't be enough to cover the lines that had to be drawing themselves over her face by now. Still, she clamped down on the change as hard as she could, trying to force every sinew of her body to go back to its human form.
But Brandon looked right in her eyes. Where she expected to see horror at the realization of what she truly was, she only saw pity, and perhaps a little amusement. "You're Jellicle, aren't you?" he asked softly, reassuringly.
She fiercely shook her head in his hands, but she could feel the fur growing on her face, and she knew he could feel it, too. "It's all right. You can change in front of me," he said, more calmly than should be humanly possible considering what he was witnessing. "It must be hurting you to try to hold off the change under the moon like this." He let go of her head and sat back in his seat normally. Sarah's eyes widened. She wanted so badly to just be human right then; she'd give up her glorious felinity in a heartbeat, if only Brandon didn't have to see her like this right now. But still, his words touched something in her. He spoke as though he knew how she felt, though she knew for a fact that he wasn't Jellicle himself. And he was right about the other part, too: it was hurting her to hold off the change.
Exhausted and defeated, Sarah finally let the change take hold of her, and in a breath, Etcetera sat where she had once been. She cowered in the car seat; she'd broken one of the most important rules of being un-human: never tell anyone what you truly are. She'd hear it from the tribe for sure, now. She put them all in danger, and it was all because she had selfishly wanted to go out with Brandon and had too much confidence in her ability to hold off the change. She was doomed, and she knew it.
A tear fell from her eye. Not to mention that it was a very awkward junction in her romantic career. Oh, why hadn't she just stuck with Peder! She'd never have to worry about changing in front of him; he was Jellicle himself! Why hadn't she stuck with any Jellicle, for that matter! There were lots of other boys in the tribe. Well, not lots, but some! The other girls in the tribe had found Jellicle boyfriends. Heck, she could have dated another tom from outside the city! She could tell if they were Jellicle without them necessarily changing in front of her; all Jellicles could see it in the eyes. But no! She'd gone and chose a human boy, and now look what she'd done! She was crying in full force now.
But then she found the reason she had fallen in love with this particular guy. "It's okay," Brandon tried to reassure her. He put his hand on her shoulder. "You don't have to cry now, Bunches. I'm here. Come here." And despite her outward appearance, he embraced her strongly.
Etcetera couldn't resist. She felt like a little kitten who needed a hug. She grabbed him and nuzzled his neck in a way that he couldn't possibly be familiar with. Still, there were problems. "You're not going to tell on me, are you?" she asked pitifully.
He let go a bit to look her in the eye. She looked back; he was smiling sweetly and knowingly. "I couldn't possibly tell the humans about you, Bunches." Relieved beyond belief, Etcetera hugged him like the world depended on it, and cried her eyes out. "There, it's okay," he whispered in her alert ears. "You don't have to cry. I couldn't possibly tell on you." Then he actually giggled a bit, and muttered, "Besides, that would be hypocritical of me."
That comment made Etcetera abruptly stop crying and sit back to get a good look at him. He still smiled a small, knowing smile. "Hypocritical?" she questioned, incredulously. He nodded. "But you're not Jellicle, are you!" He shook his head, still smiling. She was a little afraid of what the answer might be, but she had to ask: "Then what are you?"
There, he stopped smiling, and sighed. "I guess it's only fair, huh?" he said, "Since you showed me what you are." He then reached into his sweatshirt and pulled something out. When he held it in the light, Etcetera gasped. Brandon wore a fine golden medallion on a black silk cord. The figure of a dog was engraved upon it.
Her eyes widened, and she shook her head in disbelief. "But the Hunters -!" she started, but she was interrupted.
"Hey, we have a little more sense than you cats give us credit for!" he cut her off through a crooked smile.
Still, Etcetera shook her head in disbelief. "But Deuteronomy said -"
But he cut her off again. "You don't believe me!" he asked. She shook her head in response. He looked around the truck furtively to make extra sure that they were alone, and when he was confident that they were, he smiled crookedly again. "Fine, I'll prove it to you. And don't say I didn't warn you."
She wasn't sure what he meant by the last part, but she nodded. Brandon closed his eyes, and without looking slipped the medallion off his neck. Immediately, a blissful smile came to his lips as his body underwent a series of changes that resembled the Jellicle change, but had a wildly different outcome. When he was finished, he opened his eyes wide and grinned wildly, a sign that he enjoyed time in his true form as much as Etcetera did in hers.
It defied everything she had ever been taught, but, like it or not, sitting before her, Brandon was a Pollicle. (Golden retriever, if Etcetera had to guess; then again, she wasn't too knowledgeable about dogs.)
"Hard to believe, eh?" he asked as he pressed up against her, suddenly more bold than he had even been before.
"You!" Etcetera gasped, suddenly quite frightened. Every instinct of her felinity told her to run, even though she was well aware that she couldn't even get out the door with the locks down. "You! You're a Pollicle!" she breathed, trying not to be afraid of her own boyfriend.
Luckily, he realized that she was getting scared of him, and backed off a bit. "Yeah, I am," he said. "I'm sorry if I'm scaring you. I know the whole ... cat/dog thing must be freaking you out right now."
"Yeah, it is!" she gasped, but tried to take a hold of her emotions. He'd made it clear that he wasn't going to try to hurt her. Still, though, she was a cat. As such, she was completely susceptible to bouts of curiosity. "But," she asked, "We thought you were all dead?"
He smirked at her, unconsciously baring his teeth a bit and making her squirm. "We are a little more intelligent than you cats give us credit for!" Then he realized what he'd shown her: his 'canines' were monstrous compared to Jellicle teeth. "Sorry," he said, and put his paw over his mouth. He did keep speaking, though: "When the Hunters swept through a few centuries ago, most of us were killed. But there were a couple who'd found a way to ward off the change. They had medallions spelled to keep the wearer from changing forms, and so the hunters never found them. Of course, they didn't have dogs engraved on theirs, like mine does. That would have been too obvious. But those few did survive the hunters. We've repopulated a little bit, but we're still very much outnumbered by Jellicles. Far more so by humans. So we have to be more careful. We always wear the medallions, except on the full moon. And even when we do get together and take them off, we do it in a locked room. Not in some obvious junkyard!" He smirked at her again (this time covering his teeth).
Etcetera pouted. "Hey, the Junkyard is locked!" she tried to protest.
He smiled wickedly. "Yeah, but the humans know about you!" he retorted, sweetly. "Not even the Jellicles know about us!"
It was Etcetera's turn to smile wickedly. "Not until now!" she cried.
He smiled and growled playfully. This time, she was not afraid, and playfully swatted at him. He ducked and grinned cunningly. Now Etcetera showed her teeth, and they proceeded to take playful swipes at each other, which escalated to pounces, until after five minutes or so, Etcetera was pinned to the backseat of the roomy truck cab. "Okay, okay, you win!" she cried, and he proceeded to nuzzle her for all she was worth.
A little while later, when they had both exhausted themselves, they laid together on the back seat, staring up at the moon through the windows. Finally, he nuzzled her and said, "I think I can live with this." He looked into her eyes. "Can you?"
She smiled and lost herself in his starry depths. "Yeah, I think I can," she replied, and promptly started to purr against him. He was a little startled by the clearly feline response, but he smiled and put his furry arm around her, their tails swinging back and forth at the edge of the seat. "Just one question," she mumbled before she slipped into sleep, "What's your real name?"
He smiled and closed his eyes. "Goldrith. You?"